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9 Welfare benefits

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1. Introduction

2. Who can claim benefits?

3. If you have a low income

4. If you are having a baby or adopting a child

5. If you have children to look after

6. If you are unemployed

7. If you are ill and can´t work

8. If you have a disability
Depending on how long an illness or disability lasts and how your disability affects you, you may qualify for:

  • Disability Living Allowance if you are under 65; or
  • Attendance Allowance if you are 65 or over.

Disability Living Allowance is for people who have mobility problems or need help with personal care (for example, getting up and dressed, bathing and laundry), or both. Attendance Allowance is for people who need help with personal care only. If you are 65 or over and you have mobility problems, you can’t claim for benefit to help with this, unless you were already receiving the benefit before you turned 65.

You can claim Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance whether or not you work. These allowances are not treated as income for the purpose of deciding whether you qualify for other means-tested benefits, such as Income Support, tax credits, Pension Credit, Council Tax Benefit or Housing Benefit. Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance do not depend on any income you have, and you do not have to have paid any National Insurance contributions to get them.

If you were injured or became ill due to service in the armed forces, you may also be able to claim a war pension or financial help from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. For more about this, see the Gurkha Free Legal Advice leaflet, 'Veterans'.

You may qualify for reduced Council Tax if:

  • your home is adapted or must otherwise meet certain requirements because of your disability; or
  • you need to use a wheelchair to get around your home, which means you need a larger house or flat than you otherwise would.

If you care for a disabled person
If you care for a person with a disability, you may qualify for Carer's Allowance if you:

  • spend at least 35 hours a week caring; and
  • earn £95 a week or less.

You do not have to have paid National Insurance contributions to get Carer's Allowance. It is taken into account when working out whether you qualify for other means-tested benefits.

9. If you are just starting work

10. If you have retired or are about to retire

11. If your husband, wife or civil partner dies

12. Where do I claim?

13. What must I do when I claim?

14. What if I disagree with a decision about my claim?

15. What if I´ve been badly treated?

16. The Human Rights Act

17. Further help

18. About this leaflet


This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Rachel Hadwen, a specialist in welfare rights.

Leaflet Version: June 2008