What To Do If You Become Disabled

There are rights in place to protect you if you become disabled. You may also be entitled to receive certain benefits.

Disability and Sickness Benefits

Disability Living Allowance

DLA is a benefit for disabled people who need help with mobility or living costs. However, it is ending for people who were born after the 6th April 1948- these people will have to apply for the Personal Independence Payment instead. If you are under the age of 16, you can continue to receive Disability Living Allowance.

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payments (PIP) helps with the cost of living for people with long-term sickness or disabilities. You could get between £21.80 and £139.75. The rate will depend on how much your condition affects you, rather than the condition itself. To work out the level of help that you’ll get, you will need to have an assessment- you will be regularly reassessed to ensure that you are getting the right level of support.

Attendance Allowance

You could get £55.10 or £82.30 a week to help with personal care because you are physically/mentally disabled. This is known as attendance allowance and the rate you get depends on the level of care you need. You have to be 65 or over to receive this benefit.

Employment and Support Allowance

If you are ill or disabled, Employment and Support Allowance offers you financial support if you are unable to work, or personalised help so that you can work if you are able to. You must have a work capability assessment to see to what extent your disability or illness affects your ability to work.

You may also be eligible to receive:

  • Certain types of equipment or have adaptations made to your home without paying VAT.
  • Council tax discounts.
  • TV licence discount.
  • Free vehicle tax.

If you live in England, you could get a health and social care assessment to find out what help you can get from your local council, such as day centres, home care or equipment.

If you’re in employment and you become disabled

Your employer cannot discriminate against you if you become disabled, because you are protected by the Equality Act 2010. They must also keep your job open for you and can’t put pressure on you to hand in your resignation just because you have become disabled.

Reasonable adjustments

Your employer must make reasonable adjustments for you to ensure that you aren’t disadvantaged against non-disabled people. This can include:

  • Giving you a phased return to work- e.g. working part time or flexible hours.
  • Time off for medical treatment or counselling.
  • Giving another employee tasks that you may not be able to do comfortably.
  • Providing practical aids and technical equipment for you.

Time off from work

If you can’t work because of your disability, you could get Statutory Sick Pay, however some employers may have their own Sick Pay scheme instead. If you are still unable to work after 28 weeks, you can apply for Employment and Support Allowance.

Time that you take off from work should not be listed as an absence if you are still waiting for your employer to make reasonable adjustments to help you work.

For advice about work-related issues, contact Citizens Advice or your trade union representative.