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If you have a disability or long-term health condition, you may be able to get benefits, grants or concessions to help with the cost of living. It’s important to make sure you’re claiming everything you can, so that you can live as independently and safely as possible as a single parent. You could be eligible for:
The rules around benefits can be complicated. For tailored information and advice, talk to us.
If you can’t work because of ill health or disability, you may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay from your employer for 28 weeks.
You can get up to £109.40 a week as sick pay from the 4th day you’re off work. You normally have to earn at least £123 to get this. And after the first 7 days, you’ll need to give your employer a note from your doctor or another healthcare professional to continue being paid.
Some employers also pay occupational sick pay on top of this. It’s always worth checking with your employer about the support you can get if you’re off work.
If your Statutory Sick Pay has run out, or you’re not able to get this, you can apply for new-style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). You can claim this if you can’t work at all or can only work a few hours a week.
To qualify, you must have been paying or credited with National Insurance contributions for the past 2 to 3 years. You can apply online. You’ll need a note from your doctor or healthcare professional after the first 7 days of claiming for this to continue.
You’ll get £84.80 a week for the first 13 weeks, or £67.20 if you’re under 25. After this, you’ll have a work capability assessment to see how much your disability or health condition affects you. You’ll then be put into either:
If your income is below a certain amount, you may be able to claim Universal Credit on top of this. See our page on Universal Credit for more.
If it’s hard for you to work because of your health condition or disability, you may be able to claim Universal Credit without having to work or look for work.
You’ll need to explain that you have a health condition or disability that makes it hard for you to work. You’ll be asked for a note from your doctor or healthcare professional, and will have to fill in a questionnaire. You might also be asked to do a Work Capability Assessment.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may decide you don’t have to look for a job or get ready for work. This means you’ll get an extra £390.06 per month – this is called the ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity element’.
If they think you can get ready for work, you won’t have to look for a job, but you might have to do some training or prepare your CV. This is called ‘limited capability for work’.
If you’re unsure whether to claim Universal Credit or new-style ESA, call our free helpline for a benefit calculation.
If you need help with everyday tasks or getting around, you may be able to get Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Everyday tasks include things like eating, washing, getting dressed, communicating with other people and managing your medicines.
You can claim PIP whether you’re working or not – it doesn’t matter how much you earn or have in savings. You could get between £26.90 and £172.75 a week – this will depend on how much your disability or health condition affects you.
To claim, call the PIP new claims phone line on 0800 917 2222. You’ll be asked a few basic details and sent a form to fill in.
Citizens Advice has more information on Personal Independence Payment, including how to claim and prepare for your assessment.
You may also be able to get a Disabled Facilities Grant from your council. This will help if you need to make changes to your home.
Lots of charities have grants to help with the cost of disability and ill health. Try our online grant finder – you can narrow down the results by health condition or disability.
You may also be able to get discounts or concessions for travel, such as:
Help to buy or lease a car, scooter or powered wheelchair through the Motability scheme
You could also reach out to a disability or health-related charity, such as:
Date last updated: 28 June 2023