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Social Benefits

Last updated: 04 February 2013

Employment and support allowance

If you have a disability or an illness and are unable to work, then you may be able to claim employment and support allowance.

You can get personalised support and financial help to do some appropriate work, if you can.

You can also get access to a specially trained adviser and services to help with employment, training and condition management support.

The first step to getting this benefit involves a medical assessment known as the work capability assessment  to assess your capabilities and limitations as well as what medical support you need.

The government expects you to be looking for some kind of work at some point whilst on this benefit.


Eligibility checklist

  • Your statutory sick pay has ended, or you are unable to get it
  • you’re self employed or unemployed
  • you have been getting statutory maternity pay but are unable to return to work because you are ill or have a disability preventing you from working
  • you are under state pension age when claiming
  • your illness or disability prevents you from work for at least four days in a row
  • you are unable to work for two or more days each week
  • you are receiving special medical treatment

To apply for employment and support allowance, phone 0800 055 6688 or textphone 0800 023 4888. You can also make your claim in Welsh on 0800 012 1888.

Or you can fill out form ESA1 here or if you prefer, there’s also an interactive form here.


Carer’s allowance

If you are over 16 and spend more than 35 hours a week caring for someone who is ill or disabled, then you may be able to claim for carer’s allowance.

The person you are caring for must be getting one of the following for you to be able to get the allowance:

  • Attendance allowance
  • Disability living allowance paid at the middle or highest rate
  • Constant attendance allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an industrial injuries disablement benefit, or a basic full day rate with a war disablement pension

If someone else is also looking after the same person, only one of you can get carer’s allowance.

Carer’s allowance can only be paid for caring for one person.

If you think you may be eligible for carer’s allowance, you can apply here.


Housing benefit

If you are renting and on low income, it’s possible you may be able to get help towards paying your rent, but there are a number of restrictions, listed below:

  • You can’t claim if you have over £16,000 in savings
  • You can’t claim if you live in a close relatives house
  • You can’t claim if you’re a full time student
  • You can’t claim if you are an asylum seeker or are sponsored to be in the UK
  • If you live with a partner or civil partner, then only one of you can get housing benefit.
  • If you’re single and under 35, you can only get housing benefit for a bed-sit accommodation or one room in shared accommodation.

From April 2013, if you live in council accommodation or other social housing and have at least one extra bedroom, your housing benefit could be reduced by 14%, and if you have two or more extra bedrooms, then it will be reduced by 25%.

You should speak to your council about changes and how they may affect you.

If you think you may be eligible, click here to be put through to your local council site.


Council tax benefit

If you are on a low income, you may be able to get financial help towards the payment of your council tax.

You can apply for this whether you work or not and whether you rent or are a homeowner.

You may also be able to get a second adult rebate if you share your house with someone who is not a partner or civil partner, is aged over 18, not paying you rent, on a low income and is not paying council tax.

You could get this even if you don’t receive council tax benefits – your council will check this automatically when you apply.

You are not entitled to council tax benefits if you have savings of over £16,000.

If you think you may be eligible, click here to go to your local council site.


Disability living allowance

Disability living allowance (DLA) is a tax free benefit paid to disabled children and adults to help them with the extra costs of living.

You can claim for DLA if you have a physical or mental ability and/or you need someone to care for you. You must be aged under 65 to claim.

You can claim for DLA regardless of whether you work and it is not affected by your savings.

To make a claim, fill out this form.

If you are terminally ill, there are special rules to help you get your benefits faster.

Note, from April 2013, the DLA will be replaced with a new personal independence payment for those aged 16-64.

You can find out more here.



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Reduce your grocery bill by 70% this summer!

The kids are off school and they are going to be hungry – inevitably, the next few weeks will see the cost of your weekly shop shoot up.

To help families keep the costs of food shopping down, MMM put Approved Food to the test, which can help slash the cost of shopping by as much as 70%.

There is of course one catch – the food is past or close to its sell-by date, but perfectly safe.

With a £30 budget, MMM managed to bag a fair amount – cereals, tinned food, sweets and treats, drinks and even laundry detergent and dishwasher tablets – the sort of things where you can generally ignore the date stamped on the product.

If you’ve tried reducing the cost of the grub by switching brands or shopping at discount stores but think you can do better, then try Approved Food  – you’ll be surprised at just how much you could save on some store cupboard essentials.

New products are available everyday and there are some real bargains. For example, Sprite Zero 330ml for just 29p or a 2kg Reeses Peanut jar for just £2.99. There’s even stuff for pets, at more than 50% off.

MMM was really pleased with service and surprised at just how at just how much £30 would buy (see pic above/ instagram).

Although we would like to see Approved Food cut down on the cardboard packaging, the items arrived well packed and in excellent condition.

So, if you’re looking to save a few more pounds on your groceries, take a look at Approved food – you’ll be surprised at just how good the bargains are.


Keep up with MMM on Twitter @MumMoneyMatters and Facebook !


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