Please read the latest coronavirus advice before visiting any of the hospice sites.

Benefits when you are sick

There are a number of sickness and disability benefits you may be able to get

The Welfare Department is available to help you get the financial help to which you are entitled. Below is a list of sickness and disability benefits you could be entitled to as a patient of St Christopher’s:

  • Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance
  • Benefits if you are unable to work through sickness
  • Other benefits and help if you are on a low income (link to separate page?)

These benefits are not charity – they are your right.

We hope that the following information is clear, but if you have any questions or you need help getting any claim forms, please telephone the hospice and ask to speak to the welfare officers who will be happy to advise you further. You can contact them between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday on 020 8768 4500 (Sydenham) or 01689 825755 (Orpington).

Attendance Allowance (AA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Attendance Allowance is paid to people aged 65 and over who need help with personal care (i.e. help with washing, dressing etc).

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is paid to people under 65 when they first claim and who need help with the tasks of daily living. There is also an additional mobility component of PIP if you have difficulty getting around. PIP will continue to be paid after age 65 if you get it before your 65th birthday. PIP replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in 2013 for new claimants.

Some people already claiming DLA may continue to get it instead of PIP. However, a gradual transfer to PIP for these claimants is planned for the future. These benefits are tax-free and paid on top of any other benefits, sick pay or pensions you may be getting. They can also be paid if you are still working. Getting either AA, PIP or DLA may mean that you are automatically entitled to other benefits.

Special rules for claiming Attendance Allowance (AA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

There are special rules for people who have an uncertain future because of their illness and people referred for hospice care, whether as an outpatient or an inpatient. These mean that you may have an automatic right to be paid the highest rate of AA or enhanced rate for daily living of PIP or the highest rate of the care component of DLA. If you are not already getting the highest rates, let your St Christopher’s nurse know and he/she will help make the claim if the special rules apply or refer you to the Welfare Office if you need to make a claim under the usual rules.

Benefits paid if unable to work through sickness

Statutory Sick Pay

If you are employed but off sick you will be paid Statutory Sick Pay as part of your wages/salary for the first 28 weeks you are off work. You may also be entitled to Income Support to top this up if you have a low income and savings under £16,000. When the Statutory Sick Pay ends you should claim Employment and Support Allowance from the Department of Work and Pensions.

Employment and Support Allowance

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is paid if you are under pension age and unable to work because of illness and your statutory sick pay has ended or you are not entitled to it. ESA replaced incapacity benefit in 2008. There may be a few people still getting incapacity benefit who have not been moved to ESA.

You may get extra work sick pay or superannuation on top of any Statutory Sick Pay or Employment and Support Allowance, depending on your employer.

If you are self employed or unemployed you should claim ESA straight away.

If you have paid enough National Insurance contributions in the three years before your claim you are entitled to a basic amount of contributory ESA which is not affected by any savings you have or the income of any other members of your family. The amount you receive may be affected by any work pension you get.

In addition to the above, you may qualify for income-based Employment and Support Allowance if your income is low and you have savings under £16,000. The amount you get depends on your family circumstances and any other income and savings.

Getting income-based Employment and Support Allowance (or Income Support) may also entitle you to other types of help, such as free prescriptions, dental treatment and home improvement grants.

You can claim by ringing the Jobcentre Plus new claims call centre on 0800 055 6688 or contact one of St Christopher’s welfare officers who have claim forms available.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and compensation

If you have mesothelioma or another illness caused by contact with asbestos, you may be entitled to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and compensation, paid in addition to some of the benefits above. Please contact one of our welfare officers.

Getting one of the benefits above, may mean you are entitled to other help and benefits if you are on a low income. Check Financial help if you are sick (link to new page?)