There are a number of top-up benefits that could aid you if you have a low income. They include Income Support, tax and pension credits and housing benefits. These benefits can be very helpful if your long-term lung condition limits your income.
You may be entitled to benefits if you:
- have care or mobility needs because of your lung condition
- cannot work due to your lung condition
- are thinking of giving up work because of your lung condition
- care for someone with a lung condition
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.
If you’re unsure what you’re entitled to and want to talk to someone, please call our helpline on 03000 030 555.
On this page:
- Income support
- Tax Credits
- Pension Credit
- The new state pension
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Reduction
- Help with prescription costs
- Do you live in Northern Ireland?
Income Support tops up your income if it falls below a certain level. You must be all of the following:
- a carer, or pregnant, or a lone parent with a child under five
- work less than 16 hours a week
- under Pension Credit qualifying age
- have no income or a low income
- have less than £16,000 in savings
- live in England, Scotland or Wales
If these points don’t all apply, you may be eligible, if you:
- can’t work because you’re disabled or a carer
- are off work and getting statutory sick pay (SSP)
- are aged between 16 and 20 and are in full-time education or retraining (below the level of a university degree)
There are two types of Tax Credits, both of which are means-tested:
- Child Tax Credit -payable to anyone who has any children, depending on household income
- Working Tax Credit - payable to anyone in low-paid work
Pension Credit is an income-related benefit for people who have reached the qualifying age. It has two parts, and you may be entitled to one or both:
- Guarantee Credit, which tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed level
- Savings Credit, for people who are over 65 and have saved some money towards their retirement. If you reached state pension age on or after 6 April 2016, you won’t be eligible for this part.
The qualifying age is gradually increasing to 66 in line with the increase of state pension age. You can find out your qualifying age on the gov.uk website or by calling 0345 606 0265.
You can claim whether or not you still work.
The new state pension is a regular payment you can claim if you reach state pension age on or after April 2016. It’s based on your national insurance record. You’ll usually need to have paid 10 years’ national insurance to qualify. You’ll need 35 qualifying years to get the new full state pension if you don’t have a national insurance record before 2016. You won’t get the pension automatically, you need to claim it. You should get a letter four months before your state pension age telling you what to do. You can call 0800 731 7898 to make a claim.
You could get Housing Benefit to help pay your rent if you’re on a low income. How much you get is based on your income and your circumstances. For some claimants, housing benefit is being replaced by universal credit.
From 15 May 2019, if you’re in a couple you’ll only be eligible to start getting Housing Benefit if either:
- you and your partner have both reached State Pension age
- one of you has reached State Pension age and started claiming Housing Benefit or Pension Credit (for you as a couple) before 15 May 2019
Your Housing Benefit could be reduced if you live in council or social housing and have a spare bedroom. The reduction is:
- 14% of your housing benefit for one spare bedroom
- 25% for two or more spare bedrooms.
Measures are in place to mitigate the financial impact of this reduction. Call our helpline on 03000 030 555 for the details of discretionary housing payments (DHP).
Council Tax Reduction is a means-tested benefit which helps you to pay your council tax. You could be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.
Local councils set their council tax rates and run their own schemes for Council Tax Reduction. You should apply to your local council.
NHS prescription charges have been abolished in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. From April 2019, in England, the cost for each prescription is £9.
In England if you are under 16, or under 19 and in full time education, or over 60, you are automatically entitled to free prescriptions.
You may also get free prescriptions if you have a medical exemption certificate because you:
- are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months
- are a war pensioner being treated for your accepted disability
- are being treated for TB, cancer, the effects of cancer or the effects of cancer treatment
- have a specified physical disability that prevents you leaving home without the help of another person
If you have a low income and your capital is £16,000 or less you may qualify for the NHS Low Income Scheme. Find out more on the NHS website. This capital rises to £23,250 if you are in a care home.
You can save money by buying a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) if:
- you need four or more items in three months – the certificate costs £29.10 or
- you need 12 or more items in a year – the certificate costs £104
You can apply online on the NHS website or call the order line on 0300 330 1341.
If you live in Northern Ireland, for more information please call our helpline on 03000 030 555.
What welfare benefits might I be entitled to?
We’ve put together a basic guide to benefits for people living with a lung condition in England, Scotland and Wales.
Benefits for people unable to work
Find out the types of benefits available to you if you are unable to work