Disability benefits for people with mental health problems
This factsheet tells you about claiming Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Carer's Allowance if you have a mental health problem. It also tells you how these benefits may affect any other benefits you may be claiming like Income Support or Employment and Support Allowance.
Disability Living Allowance
If you are under 65 and have a mental health problem which means you need help and/or supervision you may be able to claim Disability Living Allowance. Remember you only have to need the help - you do not have to receive it.
DLA is being replaced nationally by the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for people aged between 16 and 64. If you live in the Colchester area the last date you will be able to claim DLA is 10th June 2013.
Disability Living Allowance is:
- tax free
- not means tested - it doesn't matter how much income or savings you have
- not based on your National Insurance Contributions
If you get Disability Living Allowance, you may be able to get other benefits, or increase these benefits if you already get them. These benefits are Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit
Disability Living Allowance is split into two parts known as components:
You can get one or both of the components.
You may be able to get the mobility component if you have problems getting round. There are two rates of this component.
You may be able to get the higher rate if:
- You have a severe mental impairment which causes disruptive and dangerous behaviour
You may be able to get the lower rate if:
- You need some guidance or supervision outdoors in places you are not familiar with. You might need this guidance because you feel panicky or confused, or because you feel threatened, or because you sometimes feel suddenly unable to move, or because you get angry and may harm other people, or because you would not go out if you did not have someone with you.
If you have a mental health problem which means you need help during the day and/or night, you may be able to get the care component. You must have needed the help for three months and be likely to need it for at least the next six months.
The care component is paid at three rates depending on how much help you need. If you have a terminal illness you should ask your doctor for advice on making a claim.
You may be able to get the care component if any of the following apply to you.
The Care Checklist
Do you need someone to prompt, remind or encourage you to:
- get out of bed?
- get dressed?
- wash, have a bath or shower?
- take the right amount of medicine at the right time?
- get undressed?
- go to bed?
- use the toilet?
- eat good nourishing food?
Do you need someone around to avoid danger because you:
- may fall asleep when smoking a cigarette?
- get confused or panic and are ill?
- forget to switch off the cooker, fire or other appliances?
- do not realise when your illness is getting worse?
- are at risk of overdosing?
- do not take your medication?
- have ideas about harming yourself or others?
- take medication which has strong side effects?
- are confused, distressed and vulnerable and could be exploited or in danger of hurting yourself?
Attendance Allowance is very similar to the care component of Disability Living Allowance but paid to people over 65 years. There is no mobility component.
Making a claim
- To claim DLA/AA contact the Benefits Enquiry Line 0800 88 22 00 or go to http://www.dwp.gov.uk/eservice/ to complete the form on-line but note this service doesn't work with some modern browsers and operating systems.
You should get help to fill in this form from the Citizens' Advice Bureau, your social worker or GP Care Advisor. If you are turned down or given a lower rate than you think you should have you can ask for the decision to be changed.
You should get advice if this happens to you.
If you care for someone who gets the middle or higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance, or who gets Attendance Allowance you may be able to claim Carer's Allowance.
You must give 35 hours of care a week and you can work as well but there are rules about how much you can earn. See our factsheet Benefits for Carers.
CAUTION: In some circumstances if you get Carer's Allowance and the person you care for is getting Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit they may lose some of their benefit. Getting Carer's Allowance also affects any means tested benefits you may get such as Income Support and Housing Benefit. In these circumstances you should get advice before claiming.
To get a Carer's Allowance claim form contact the Benefits Enquiry Line 0800 88 22 00 or go towww.dwp.gov.uk/carersallowance/ and complete the form on line.
You can get more help from:
Age UK Colchester - 01206 368420 Globe House,6 George St., Colchester CO1 1TP - deals with people of state pension credit age and over. You can check at what age you will / did reach 'state pension credit age' at: https://www.gov.uk/calculate-state-pension/y/age
Citizens' Advice Bureau - Blackburn House, Ground Floor, 32 Crouch Street, Colchester, CO3 3HH. Open Monday - Wednesday and Friday, 9.30am - 12.30pm for personal callers and 9.30am - 4pm queries over the phone - 0844 477 0808