Benefits Top Tips

Each benefit brings its own rules, regulations and potential pitfalls. Some are means tested so entitlement depends on your savings/capital; some are available to all and others aren't; some depend on previous years' National Insurance Contributions; some depend on you being ill or disabled; some depend on your age; some depend on your earnings; others depend on you having children.
Below is some general advice to help you and the person who you are caring for get what you are both entitled to.
Benefit rules continually change, as may your personal circumstances – you should seek regular assessments of your benefit entitlements. The following links are a good starting point:

Useful Tips

  • Nobody has an obligation to tell you what you're entitled to claim – make sure you seek independent advice.
  • People of all ages can be entitled to benefits, even children, so make sure you mention them in any benefits discussions.
  • There are often many hidden extras available when you claim certain benefits. These extras could be available in your area and save you money – on things like bus passes, taxi cards, school dinners, school clothing grants, and council tax reductions.
  • If a family member is turned down for disability benefits such as Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance, it's not necessarily the end of the matter. Many specialist advice agencies have a very high success rate (80%+) when appealing against such decisions.
As you can see, all the options are complicated so often it pays, quite literally, to get help and advice. A specialist welfare rights agency will not take long to check your entitlement to available benefits. Be wary of taking advice from friends, neighbours, relatives or anyone else – everyone's circumstances are different; always seek specialist welfare rights advice.
Other useful links:
ICare4 - a great money map to calculate the financial benefits you may be eligible for as a carer or a person who is cared for.
The Carer Centre – an online resource offering useful information and advice about benefit entitlements and financial issues.