Managing your money
Ways to get financial help when you have an illness or disability
There’s lots of support available if an illness or a disability means you need help with money worries, or just to manage your bank account.
An illness or disability can mean you have a lot to deal with on a day-to-day basis. What extra steps you might need to take to manage your finances successfully may be the last thing on your mind – or it could be keeping you awake at night.
Whatever the case, there’s lots of help and advice available – from us, from the government and local authorities, and from other organisations.
We can help – if you’d like us to
It can be hard to know where to turn when you have money worries, but the sooner you let us know if there’s a problem, the sooner we can help – and calling us won’t ever make anything worse.
You may not want to tell us about your health – and that’s obviously fine. We’re not here to give medical advice and we won’t try to do so.
Rest assured, we’ll always let you know what we’ll do with any information you give us about your health and we’ll only ever use it to help you. And, of course, anything you tell us is always confidential.
You’ll find much more information about the help available to you if you have an illness or disability, and about how we helped one of our customers manage her financial difficulties, on our ‘Living with illness’ page.
What other help is available?
Whatever your personal circumstances and health condition, you can be sure that there’s help available – whether it’s with money or just practical advice. Let’s take a look at some of the main options.
Can I get help if I’m a carer?
You may not think of yourself as a carer, but it’s a term that applies to anyone who looks after someone with an illness or disability.
Putting someone’s needs before your own can have an impact on your own wellbeing and finances, but lots of help, support and advice is available. A good place to start is the NHS Social care and support guide, where you can read more about the help you can get.
Carers are also eligible for financial support through State Benefits and you’ll find more information about those at the GOV.UK Carers and disability benefits page.
What financial support is available?
If illness or a disability affects your financial circumstances – perhaps you need to take time off work or give up work altogether – then there’s a range of State Benefits and charitable grants you may be eligible for.
You’ll find a full list of benefits and details of how to apply at the GOV.UK website. The GOV.UK’s benefits calculators also help you work out which you’re eligible for, based on your savings and income.
Here’s a summary of the main State Benefits that are available when you have an illness or disability, along with some other types of support you may find useful.
Attendance Allowance is a State Benefit that helps with extra costs if you have an illness or disability that’s severe enough to need someone to help you day to day.
It’s only for people aged 65 and over and doesn’t cover any mobility needs (but see Disability equipment and transport for that), but it isn’t income assessed – so your savings and income won’t affect your eligibility.
If you get Attendance Allowance, it may increase any other benefit you get, too.
Disability Living Allowance is no longer available for anyone aged 16 or over – it’s been replaced by the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
It is still available for children under 16 if they have difficulty walking or have care needs that are greater than those of a child the same age without a disability.
Personal Independence Payment gives extra financial help with the extra costs caused by long-term ill health or a disability.
It’s for people aged 16 to 64 and your needs are first assessed (and then reviewed regularly) by a health professional. It’s also important to note that payments depend on how your condition affects you – not the condition itself.
Employment and Support Allowance gives financial support if an illness or disability means you’re unable to work – but it can also provide personal help if you are able to.
You can claim for ESA whether you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed, but all claims have to go through a Work Capability Assessment.
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit gives financial support if you have a disability following an accident at work, or as a result of a work-related illness.
Claims are assessed by an independent advisor and your level of disability will affect the amount of benefit you’re eligible for. Depending on your disability, you may be eligible for other benefits, too.
An illness or disability may mean you’re eligible for extra help at home and with travel.
This might include equipment to help you manage the stairs at home, for example, or for getting into the bath.
For travel, it can include a disabled person’s bus pass, or a Blue Badge for car parking concessions. Children with a disability may be eligible for free school transport, too.
Read more at the GOV.UK Disability equipment and transport page.
Disabled Facilities Grants help when you need to make changes to your home to help with an illness or disability. Grants don’t have to be repaid and they don’t affect any other benefits you get.
Eligibility is based on an income and saving assessment, but this doesn’t apply to parents of a child with a disability.
Read more at the GOV.UK Disabled Facilities Grant page.
State Benefits aren’t the only option for getting financial support for an illness or disability – a wide range of charities offer their own grants, too.
Charitable grants don’t have to be repaid, but you may need to show that you’ve explored the other support options from your local authority before you can apply.
There are too many charitable grants to list, but there’s much more information at the Money Advice Service charitable grants page.
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