Benefits if you have care or mobility needs
If you have difficulties with daily living needs, getting around or need a carer’s help, you could be entitled to welfare benefits. These aim to make life a little easier for you if you are living with a long-term condition or disability.
On this page:
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Attendance Allowance (AA)
- Blue badge scheme
- Special rules for terminally ill people
- Disability benefits in Scotland
- Do you live in Northern Ireland?
Use an independent benefits calculator to find out what benefits you could get, how to claim and how your benefits will be affected if you start work.
PIP can help you with some of the extra costs if you have a long-term health condition or disability. It replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
PIP is non-means-tested and non-contributory, and can be paid whether you are working or not. To qualify for PIP, you must have had the difficulties or needs for three months before you can claim and must be likely to continue to have them for the next nine months.
PIP has two components - called Daily Living Activities and Mobility Activities. If you’re eligible you can be paid for one component or both components.
If you’re awarded the high rate mobility component, you may get access to the Motability scheme. Find out more on the Motability website.
AA is paid at one of two rates, higher or lower depending on the level of need you have. You must have had care needs for at least six months. There is no mobility payment with AA and any mobility difficulties outside the home are not taken into account.
Application forms are long and you may find them hard to complete. We suggest you check the guidance notes on how to complete the forms before you start to apply or ask a friend or family member to help. It’s important to prepare. These notes are a good starting point:
Tips for applying
Application forms are a chance to explain how your lung condition affects you from day to day. Try to explain the kind of things you find difficult or can’t do at all. You should also give information about the things you need help with – either from a person, from aids or by changing how you do it.
For example, if you live with a lung condition that makes you short of breath, you may face these day-to-day issues. Make sure you include them:
- Bathing and dressing: you may need someone - or a special aid like a rail or a chair - to help you bathe or shower and get dry and dressed. You may need to wrap yourself in a towel or dressing gown until you are dry, as drying yourself immediately makes you breathless. Bending over to dry your feet, cut your toenails and put on shoes and socks may leave you out of breath.
- Preparing food and cooking: you may need help from someone, or to use a chair when you prepare simple meals.
- Eating: you may need to eat smaller amounts more regularly, rather than three meals a day due to difficulty chewing and breathing, getting out of breath while eating, feeling bloated and loss of appetite.
- Getting up and down stairs: you may need to stop (several times) to get your breath. You may plan to avoid stairs as much as you can because climbing them makes you breathless and anxious. Mention if your only loo is upstairs and you cannot get there easily or quickly.
- Planning a journey: you may have to avoid steps and hills and take frequent rests to catch your breath. If you use public transport, you may avoid busy times of day as you take a long time to get on or off a bus or train. You may try to avoid crowds as it’s harder to walk slowly. You may use a stick or a walking frame to get about.
On the form, explain the effects of your lung condition, compared to someone of your age who is healthy (such as your partner or a friend). You will need to describe the difficulties you have, how often you have them – day and night - and the sort of help you need.
A blue badge helps you park closer to your destination. If you get certain benefits, you’re automatically eligible. Find out more about the blue badge scheme on the Citizens Advice website.
You can also apply if you have long-term problems with walking or problems with walking that your doctor says will last at least a year. You’ll have to fill in an extra section of the form and may need an assessment by your local council.
If you have queries, call the blue badge helpline on 0343 100 1000 (England), 0343 100 1001 (Scotland), or 0343 100 1002 (Wales).
IIf a person is terminally ill and expected to live for six months or less, they can get Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment immediately. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will fast-track the application. You can read more about this on the government website.
From 2020, the Scottish government has taken over responsibility for PIP, Attendance Allowance and DLA for children.
People who are already receiving these benefits will carry on getting them, but new claims will be for the Scottish equivalent of these benefits.
The Scottish government plans to make some changes to how decisions are made on these benefits. They want to reduce the number of assessments and make decisions on medical evidence where they can.
For more information and help on with disability benefits in Scotland, go to the mygov.scot website.
If you live in Northern Ireland, take a look at the NI Direct page and the AdviceNI pages. You can also call the Benefit Enquiry Line 0800 232 1271 Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm or email [email protected]
Your lung condition may change, so you should review your situation regularly to ensure you’re claiming everything that you are entitled to.
Having a lung condition doesn’t entitle you to welfare benefits. Benefits depend on how your lung condition affects your care or mobility needs, or your ability to work.
For general advice on welfare benefits, call our helpline on 03000 030 555.
Unable to work because of a lung condition
If you can’t work or are limited in the amount you can work, you might be eligible for benefits.
How can I get help with heating costs?
If you live with a lung condition, you’ll know how important it is to stay warm in the winter. Help with your heating costs is available.