Many people in the United Kingdom find the benefits system somewhat complicated and often quite difficult to fathom. Part of the reason is the roll out of new benefits and the constant changing of existing ones.
Needless to say, the first step is understanding how the welfare benefits process works. Following that, your personal circumstances will most likely entitle you to some kind of assistance or eligibility for grants.
So, who exactly are the benefit payments for in the United Kingdom? In most cases, social welfare and allowances exist to provide regular financial support and practical help for the most vulnerable, such as:
- The unemployed (or on a low income)
- Singles or couples bringing up children
- People with a disability or an illness
- The elderly during retirement
There are many people struggling to get by and in desperate need of social security benefits. This section lists the most common benefits available for those who need them (e.g. the sick and the elderly).
Browse through the list of welfare benefits and allowances below and use the links to check your entitlements.
The Attendance Allowance payment is used to help elderly folk with their daily care needs (e.g. washing, getting dressed). The financial support is for people with a disability who have already reached State Pension age and need extra help or supervision.
DWP Budgeting Loans are available through the Social Fund. They help the most needy pay for necessary things while on benefits. It is normally available and administered in conjunction with Jobcentre Plus departments.
The Carers Allowance is a weekly benefit paid for helping to look after someone who needs help from a carer. Check how to apply online or use form DS700 to make a postal application.
Being responsible for one or more children who are younger than sixteen (16) could qualify you to claim Child Benefit. The same assistance applies if they are under twenty (20) and they stay in approved education or training.
Unlike certain other benefits, there is no limit placed on how many children you can claim for. Even so, only one person (e.g. for a couple) can get Child Benefit payments for a child.
Note: A change of circumstances (e.g. getting married) would need reporting to the Child Benefit Office.
If you get the Childcare Grant you do not have to pay it back. The money is paid on top of any other student finance. Thus, to apply for Childcare Grant 2019/20 you must already qualify for student finance.
Cold Weather Payments
Keep in mind that the Cold Weather Payment is not the same as the payments made through the Winter Fuel Allowance!
To qualify for Cold Weather Payments the outside temperature needs to be very cold. Whereas, the Winter Fuel Allowance is paid no matter what the temperature is – providing you qualify.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
As the name suggests, the Employment and Support Allowance benefit offers invaluable financial and personalised support for people who are ill or disabled.
The financial support is for people whose illness or disability means they are unable to work. Whereas, the personalised, work-related support helps to create ways for those who can work – to start working and then stay in the workplace.
Funeral Expenses Payment
The Funeral Expenses Payment provides financial help towards funeral costs when someone dies.
The help guide explains how claiming certain Social Security benefits qualifies you for help paying for a funeral that you need to arrange.
The Guardian’s Allowance 2020 is a weekly payment for raising a child whose parents are no longer living (e.g. orphaned).
This allowance is not means-tested. So, the money is tax-free and you would get it in addition to any Child Benefit payments that you are receiving.
The main intention behind Housing Benefit 2020 is to help claimants on a low income to pay their rent. Your personal circumstances determine whether you get help to pay part, or all, of your home rental payments.
Income Support is still available for the most vulnerable and needy. But, generally speaking, you need to be getting a low income or none at all to meet the eligibility criteria.
You do not need to have a permanent address to get Income Support 2020. So, you can still make a claim even if you are sleeping rough or living in a hostel.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
If you have a long-term illness, or you are long-term disabled, you could be entitled to a new benefit called the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
The current rate of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is £94.25 per week in the United Kingdom. Your employer must pay it for a period of up to 28 weeks if you are unable to work through illness.
Sure Start Maternity Grant
The Sure Start Maternity Grant (SSMG) is a one-off payment of £500 paid to expectant mothers. It provides financial help towards the costs associated with having a child.
The tax credits help guide explains how to get Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. Check how to manage your tax credits and when tax credit will stop.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
The government’s Warm Home Discount Scheme will take as much as £140 off your winter electricity bill – if you qualify. This guide explains how to check if you’re entitled to the discount and how to get help with fuel poverty.
Winter Fuel Payment
You should get the Winter Fuel Payment if you were born on or before the 5th of April 1954. But, keep in mind the age qualification for the winter heating allowance will change every year.