If you’re living with a mental illness, there might be different welfare benefits you could claim to help you financially.  There are changes happening to the welfare benefits system, so it is important to keep checking what you might be entitled to, as the rules and the types of benefits sometimes change.

Employment and Support Allowance

Employment and Support Allowance is a benefit that you might be able to claim if you can’t work as a result of illness or disability – it has replaced Incapacity Benefit, Income Support on disability grounds, and Severe Disablement Allowance.

You can read detailed information on Employment and Support Allowance in relation to mental health if you’d like to find out more.

Depending on where you live, if you’re not well enough to work, you might have to claim Universal Credit. Find out if you can apply for UC in your area. You can also read more detailed information about Universal Credit on our website.

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independent Payment (PIP) is a benefit you can claim if you have a mental health condition and need help day-to-day, with getting around or both. You can get PIP whether you are working or not, as it is not impacted by any income or savings you might have.

Find out more about Personal Independence Payment for mental health problems on our website. You can call the Department for Work and Pensions PIP Claims number on 0800 917 2222, Monday to Friday 8 am to 6 pm.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit you can claim if you have a low income. You might be able to get it if you are working on a low income, or if you are too unwell to work.

The money you get will depend on your circumstances, but could include money to live on and money to pay your rent. It is currently being introduced across the country and will eventually replace some benefits you may already get.

Depending on where you live, if you’re not well enough to work you might have to claim Employment and Support Allowance instead of Universal Credit. Find out if you can apply for Universal Credit in your area.

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Jobseeker’s Allowance or JSA is a benefit you can claim if you are unemployed or working less than 16 hours per week, and you are available and looking for full-time work.

Read more about Jobseeker’s Allowance and how to Apply Online.

Working Tax Credit

You may be able to claim Working Tax Credits (WTC) to top up your wages if you are in paid work but have a low income. Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) manages WTC; use their calculator to calculate your tax credits.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit (HB) is a benefit to help people on a low income to pay their rent. It is usually paid by your local council – you can’t use it to pay your mortgage.


Local Housing Allowance

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rules are used to work out how much housing benefit you get if you rent from a private landlord. The LHA rates depend on how old you are, what area you live in, the number of people in your household and the size of the property. This can range from a single room in a shared house up to a property with four bedrooms.

LHA rates for the size of accommodation should be available from the local council and this could help you to work out how much housing benefit you would get if you moved to a new address. Find out LHA rates.

Council Tax Exemptions

The local authority can decide you do not need to pay council tax – this is called exemption.

Exemption due to severe mental impairment

The council tax rules say that a person is exempt from council tax if they have a ‘severe mental impairment’. It says that ‘a person is severely mentally impaired if they have a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent’.

To get this, you need a doctor to sign a medical certificate that says you are severely mentally impaired and you need to get one of the following benefits:

– Disability Living Allowance with the middle or highest rate care component,
– Personal Independence Payment Daily Living Component (standard or enhanced rate),
– Attendance Allowance,
– Severe Disablement Allowance,
– Employment and Support Allowance,
– Incapacity Benefit,
– Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance with a disability premium,
– Working Tax Credit with the disability element.

Contact your Local Council for more information

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