The UK is known internationally for ensuring that none of its citizens falls through the safety net and into abject poverty. The UK achieves this aim by using the welfare system to ensure that all citizens who need financial assistance are taken care of. One of the ways in which the welfare system works in the UK to help people is with disability payments. In this article, we will look at disability benefits for those living in the UK and help to establish who is eligible for them and how they can be claimed.
The UK’s Disability Living Allowance benefit is split into two seperate areas: the care component and the mobility component. The care component is for people who need help with basic things like getting washed and dressed, they can't communicate their needs, they are a danger to themselves or are on dialysis. There are three levels of the care component of Disability Living Allowance that reflect the level of need. The mobility component of Disability Living Allowance is for people who struggle to walk, this covers a large variety of conditions and this is also reflected by two different levels of benefit.
Moving forward, the UK has decided to change the current system from Disability Living Allowance to PIP (Personal Independence Payment). All new claims will be for the new benefit and you can no longer apply for Disability Living Allowance. The new options are: the daily living part and the mobility part, the rates have been changed slightly, as has the way in which assessment is carried out. Both of the components of PIP have only two levels of payment.
The rates for Disability Living Allowance are as follows:
Care component - £22.65 (lower) £57.30 (medium) £85.60 (higher)
Mobility component £22.65 (lower) £59.75 (higher)
The new PIP system has the following rates of pay:
Daily living part The weekly rate for the daily living part of PIP is either £57.30 or £85.60. Mobility part The weekly rate for the mobility part of PIP is either £22.65 or £59.75.
For foreign nationals the eligibility criteria is simple, if you're under immigration control (i.e. on a current visa) you will not be entitled to access public funds such as disability benefits. If you have gained Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), you should be able to claim as long as you have been assessed. The assessment will ensure that you are entitled to make a claim and you will find out shortly after whether you are entitled to the new benefit.
The Government has ensured that the criteria has been tightened and at least anecdotally, many claim it is now significantly more difficult to claim the benefit than it has been in the past. The Government is actively trying to reduce how much is paid out in benefits and the changes reflect this attitude. It is important that you check your eligibility before making a claim, you will be quickly rejected if you are not eligible.
As long as you have been assessed as having a need for them then yes. Those with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) are no longer subject to immigration controls and can therefore claim benefits in the UK. You must ensure though that if you are planning to claim for someone else such as a child or a partner, that they are also no longer under immigration control as this may change the outcome.
If you are in any doubt as to whether or not you are still under immigration control then please get in touch. Our immigration solicitors will be able to confirm whether or not you would be eligible to claim for benefits in the UK.
Unfortunately no, you would need to be normally resident in the UK for at least two of the last three years and if you are under immigration control then it’s very unlikely that you would qualify at all for welfare benefits. One of the terms of most visas is that you cannot claim public funds and this covers welfare benefits in the UK.
To make a claim for PIP or if you are currently in receipt of Disability Living Allowance and need to switch, please call the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) who are responsible for welfare benefits in the UK. They will send you a form that needs to be filled out and once completed, it will need to be returned to them. Once they have received the form back, they will decide on how to proceed. If you are eligible, the DWP will send you for an assessment to help to decide on what level you should receive.
The assessment will take into account your history and current situation and there a decision will be made as to whether or not you qualify for a claim, then it will be down to the DWP to decide on the level. If you are turned down, you can appeal. If you would like to discuss this, please get in touch and we can help.
If you need help navigating the UK’s immigration or welfare systems then please get in touch. Our immigration solicitors have a wealth of knowledge and experience of the system that they can put to use in helping you. So, for more information or to get started using our services, get in touch today and we can begin to work on your case.