Financial help if you are sick: other benefits and financial help
As well as any sickness benefits you may be entitled to additional benefits and help with things like NHS costs and travel.
Working Tax Credit
If you (or your partner if you have one) are working for 16 hours a week or more or getting Statutory Sick Pay and you are on a low income you may be able to claim Working Tax Credit to help top up your wages. The amount you get depends on your income (as well as that of your partner, if you have one). Your entitlement should increase as a result of your illness. Contact the Tax Credit Helpline for a claim form.
Child Tax Credit
If you have a dependent child or children you may be able to get Child Tax Credit. Some families will already be claiming this, but if the family income has dropped as a result of your illness you may be entitled to more Child Tax Credit. Contact the Tax Credit Helpline to make a claim or to inform them of a change in circumstances.
Men and women over women’s pension age may be entitled to Pension Credit to top up their income. Even if you have savings or an occupational pension, you might still qualify for some Pension Credit if your income is low enough. Getting Pension Credit may also entitle you to other types of help, such as help with mortgage interest payment or housing service charges.
The amount you get depends on your income including other benefits. Contact the Pension Credit application line on 0800 991234 to make a claim.
If you are finding it hard to pay your rent, you may be eligible for Housing Benefit. You can apply online or your housing officer or local council offices will be able to send you the relevant application form. Anyone on a low income can apply for Housing Benefit as long as their savings/capital are less than £16,000 or they are getting Pension Credit.
If you are on a low income with savings under £16,000, you can apply for Council Tax reduction to help with Council Tax payments. In circumstances where particular alterations have been made to the home Council Tax discounts may be available – check these out with St Christopher’s welfare officers.
If you are living permanently in a hospital, nursing care home, residential home, private hospital or hostel, are receiving care or treatment there, and have no other home, then you do not have to pay Council Tax.
If you are claiming income-based Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, income-based Job Seekers Allowance, or in certain circumstances
Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, or if you are aged over 60, you can get free prescriptions by ticking the appropriate box on the back of the prescription forms.
If you are under age 60 and do not qualify for free prescriptions through one of these routes, you may qualify for exemption from charges on medical grounds. This includes any cancer diagnosis. You will need to claim an exemption certificate.
If none of the above applies, but you have a low income, you and other dependent members of your family may also qualify for free prescriptions under the low income scheme. You will need to apply for an HC2 certificate on an HC1 form. You can get these by ringing the NHS costs helpline on 0300 330 1343 or contact one of our welfare officers who have forms available.
Blue badge parking concessions
You will qualify for a blue badge if you get the enhanced mobility component of PIP or the high rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, are blind or deaf, and/or have difficulty walking outdoors and your GP confirms this.
Applications are made through your local authority disability services or you can ask your St Christopher’s nurse for an application form. Some local authorities make a charge of £10 for the badge. If you display a blue badge in a car you are driving or
being driven in this means that you are entitled to parking concessions. You can park in places reserved for disabled people and may be eligible for free or reduced parking charges where these are shown to be available to blue badge holders. If you are a blue badge holder you may also apply for an exemption from the London Congestion Charge. This costs an initial £10, but is free on renewal. You can apply for exemption by calling 0845 900 1234 or apply online at www.cclondon.com
Freedom Pass – free travel on buses and trains in London
All London councils run a scheme for people with disabilities in their borough to get a free pass which covers all London transport. People over pension age will be entitled to the older person’s pass.
You will qualify for a disabled person’s pass if you get the high rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance or if your GP confirms that you have difficulty walking outdoors.
Contact your local authority disability services for an application form. It can take a few weeks for the claim to be processed especially if you are not getting the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance and the authority then needs to get a report from your GP.
People who live in London and get the higher rate of the enhanced mobility component of PIP or the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance or whose GP confirms that they have difficulty walking out of doors and/or using public transport will also qualify for a Taxicard.
With Taxicard you can get a taxi and pay a flat fare (on average about £2.50 a journey) as long as the meter charge for the journey is less than a certain amount. If the meter charge for the journey is above the set limits, the additional amount will be charged.
There is a set number of journeys allowed under the scheme.
Applications can be made through your local authority disability services or by contacting 020 7934 9791 or by visiting their website at www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/services/taxicard or you can ask your St Christopher’s nurse for an application form.
You can join the London door-to-door Dial-a-Ride scheme if you get the enhanced mobility component of PIP or the high rate of the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance or if your GP confirms that you have substantial difficulty walking outdoors.
You usually have to book in advance so it cannot be used for emergencies. The fare will depend on the distance travelled. You may be travelling with other people so your journey may take longer so that they can be picked up or dropped off. Some local authorities have their own extra schemes as well as Dial-a-Ride.
Help with NHS costs
You can claim a full refund on your travel costs to get NHS treatment if you are claiming income related employment and support allowance, income support,
income based job seekers allowance, pension credit (guarantee credit) or have a tax credit exemption certificate because you are claiming high levels of tax credits.
The amount refunded will be the costs of the cheapest means of travel available to you. In order to have taxi fares paid, you will need proof from your GP that you cannot travel by public transport if this is the case. They will also pay the cost of an escort if your doctor confirms this is necessary. You should be able to find out how to apply for a refund at the hospital where you are receiving treatment. This scheme does not apply to treatment received at the hospice.
If you are getting the relevant benefits you will also be entitled to help with other NHS costs such as NHS dental treatment, eye tests, vouchers for glasses and NHS wigs and supports.
You may also get some help with these costs if you hold an HC2 or HC3 certificate because you have applied under the low income scheme. You can apply using form HC1 (please see above).
Useful telephone numbers
Tax Credit Helpline: 0345 300 3900
Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance Helpline: 0845 712 3456
Pension Credit Application Line (freephone): 0800 99 1234
New claims (income support, employmentand support allowance and job seekers allowance): 0800 055 66 88