How long will my claim take?
This can vary, depending on the benefit and how complicated your claim is. If you’re applying for a means-tested benefit, you should be able to get temporary payments until a decision is made. If you think your claim is taking too long, first speak to the relevant DWP department to find out if there are any problems. If you are not satisfied, you can consider making a complaint and asking your MP to support you. Remember that you can speak to an independent welfare rights adviser, who may be able to help you.
I was told by the Jobcentre that I couldn't get any help. Is this right?
There are many different benefits available, depending on your circumstances. You should be given a full assessment, to find out which benefits you may be entitled to. If you have been told that you do not qualify for any help, you should speak to an independent welfare rights adviser to find out why and check this for you, such as one of our specialists on 0800 808 00 00.
If you applied for a benefit and received a letter saying that you are not entitled, you usually have the right to challenge this. You can ask for it to be looked at again, firstly by the DWP and then by an Independent Appeals Tribunal. Challenging a benefits decision can be a complicated process, so it’s a good idea to ask a welfare rights adviser for help as soon as possible.
You can speak to a welfare rights adviser by calling us on 0808 808 00 00. They can talk you through the process and send you a fact sheet about challenging a benefits decision.
I haven’t applied for benefits before. Is there anything that I need to know first?
The benefits system can be confusing, remember that there are a lots of organisations including Macmillan which are here to help you. When you apply for a benefit you should always keep a copy of any forms that you send in and make a note of the date and name of any officials that you speak to or papers that you send. If you need to send any documents, do not send the originals instead documents can be taken to the local jobcentre plus office to be photocopied, they will sign that they have seen the original document so you don’t have to send it. If you have deadlines that you cannot meet, contact the office and explain this and ask for an extension. If you are refused any benefits speak to an independent adviser to find out if you can appeal against that decision.
When will Universal Credit come to my area?
Universal Credit is a new benefit which depends on how much money you and your partner have. It is gradually replacing some other benefits and is being phased in across different postal code areas across England, Scotland and Wales. The Government provides updates on which areas are being replaced with Universal Credit and for which groups of people. If you have previously worked, you may be entitled to a contribution-based benefit and should apply for this before applying for Universal Credit. To find out more go to https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit
I own my house. Can I still qualify for a benefit?
There are many types of benefits that don’t depend on your income or savings, such as Personal Independence Payments. Benefits that do look at how much money you have coming in don’t count your home as savings, as long as it’s your main home and you live in it. If you have a mortgage or pay service charges, you may be able to get help from some benefits towards those costs.
Do I need to have someone looking after me (a carer) to get disability benefits?
If you are awarded a disability benefit, such as Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payments, you do not need to have a carer. You can spend the money however you choose to best support your independence. To qualify, you will need to have a disability (such as cancer) and find it difficult to move around or with your personal care. For example, you may get very tired, or take longer to dress because of pain.
What is the difference between 'Pension Credit age' and ‘pension age'?
The pension age is when someone is able to access their State Pension. This is currently 65 years old for men. It is gradually rising from 62 to 65 for women.
Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit, which tops up the income of men or women who are at the Pension Credit age. This is currently the lower women’s pension age, to ensure that men on a low income do not miss out. The pension age will rise for both men and women to 66 years in December 2018. It will then gradually rise to 68. To check your pension or Pension Credit age, you can use the government calculator https://www.gov.uk/calculate-state-pension/y
You may want to speak to one of our financial guides if you are considering accessing or reviewing your pension options.
I am off sick on Statutory Sick Pay, but struggling to pay all my bills. Is there anything else I can claim?
There are lots of different types of help available, depending on your circumstances. For example, you may be able to get your income topped up, payments towards your housing costs, money to help with travel to hospital, or payments to help with your disability, if you have one. You can use our benefit calculator to work out which benefits you may qualify for, or speak to one of our specialists on 0800 808 00 00.
I am self-employed and will be unable to work whilst going through cancer treatment. Are there any benefits I can claim?
There are lots of different types of help available, depending on your circumstances. If you were paying National Insurance contributions, you may qualify for Employment and Support Allowance. If you are on a low income, or have no income, and have low savings, you may qualify for a means-tested top up. You may also qualify for help towards costs such as housing or travel to hospital. You might also be entitled to a disability benefit, depending on how you are affected. You should speak to one of our specialists to find out what help is available to you.
Can I get help with the cost of travelling to and from hospital?
If you are too unwell to travel to hospital by public transport, it may be possible for hospital transport to collect you from your home and take you to your hospital appointments. You should speak to your nurse or key worker at the hospital if you think you may need this.
If you’re getting certain benefits, or apply for a certificate when your income and savings are low, you may be able to get help towards the cost of travelling to appointments. This is called the NHS Low Income Scheme. For details, visit http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/1125.aspx
If you have difficulty walking, you may qualify for a, Blue Badge, a Freedom Pass in London, and (in some areas) a taxicard. Check your local authority website and details of how to apply.
I have had to stop work to care for someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. What can I claim?
There may be help available depending on your circumstances. You may qualify for Carers Allowance, if the person you are caring for receives a disability benefit. However, you should make sure that this will not affect any means-tested benefits that the person is already getting.
Depending on how much money you have coming in, you may also be able to get a means-tested benefit to top up your income, or to help with housing costs.
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