“I won’t be entitled to anything because I have a good pension, wage or savings.”

You won’t be entitled to means-tested benefits such as Universal Credit or Pension Credit but you may be eligible for disability benefits such as Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance as these are not means-tested. People who have been working and paying NI contributions may also be entitled to new style Job Seekers Allowance or new style ESA, these are contributory benefits not means-tested.

“I can’t claim Carer’s Allowance because I’m of pension age.”

You can claim Carer’s Allowance if you meet the criteria. However, if you receive your state pension something called the ‘overlapping benefits rule’ comes into play. This means you will receive whichever is higher, and usually this means the state pension. Additionally, claiming Carer’s Allowance may entitle you to the carers’ element of Pension Credit or Universal Credit, even if you are not receiving Carer’s Allowance.

“I care for someone, can I apply for Carers Allowance?”

Someone’s caring role in itself does not qualify someone to receive Carers Allowance. The person receiving the care must be getting a qualifying disability benefit such as Attendance Allowance, daily living part of PIP, middle or high care component of DLA). There are other criteria that you must also meet.

“I have been told because I have an illness/disability I’m entitled to a disability benefit.”

Unfortunately, having an illness or disability in itself does not entitle you to access disability benefits. These are assessed based on how your condition affects your ability to carry out tasks. An exception to this might be if someone is terminally ill where a different set of rules apply.

“I don’t want to claim Attendance Allowance because I don’t want to pay someone to come in and help me.”

We also hear “I can’t claim Attendance Allowance or PIP because no one helps me.”

Whilst disability benefits provide extra funds for people with an illness and/or disability, there is no obligation to spend them on care. Nor does claiming a disability benefit commit you to receive care. Eligibility to disability benefits is based on how this affects your daily living, not the care you receive.

It’s always worth speaking to a benefits rights adviser such as the team at VOCAL and organising a benefits check. You or someone you care for, or someone else in the circle of support may be entitled to some financial support.