Financial matters

Arthritis brings with it a range of issues which include managing at home, work and leisure. But another equally important issue is money.

If your arthritis is so severe that it forces you to give up work then you may find that this affects your finances as well. These days many people need two incomes to manage a home and the bills so if one half of that income is lost then money will be tight.

If you are worried about your job or how you can continue to work with arthritis then visit our employment section. That section discusses in detail the various ways of coping with the symptoms of your condition whilst holding down a job.

You may have to reduce your working hours, switch to another, lesser well paid job or even give up work. If this is the case then the main concern is that of how you will manage financially. Plus there is the fact that arthritis can mean additional expense such as purchasing special aids or devices which are designed to help you around the home.

There is financial support and advice for people in your position. This includes information about various social security benefits such as Disability Living Allowance.

Financial matters are discussed as follows:

  • Social security benefits
  • Direct payments

Social security benefits

There are a range of benefits available for people with an illness or chronic condition such as arthritis. These include:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit

Plus there is help towards prescription charges and advice and funding via the Access to Work scheme (www.direct.gov.uk).

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

This benefit is designed to help people under 65 who have a long term illness or disability. This is a non-means tested benefit which will cover the costs of personal care, mobility or both of these.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

This is a benefit your employer pays to any employee who is off sick for up to 28 weeks. You have to provide evidence to your employer in the form of a sick note as well as reporting any period of absence.

Attendance Allowance (AA)

This is a tax-free benefit for people age 65 and above who have a disability or a chronic condition such as arthritis. It is used to pay for personal care.

There are two rates of this benefit: a higher rate and lower rate which depend upon the extent of your disability or condition.

Carer’s Allowance (CA)

This taxable benefit is claimed by people who are caring for someone with a disability or long term illness, for example rheumatoid arthritis. It is paid on a weekly basis and is aimed at people who spend more than 35 hours a week looking after someone.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

This benefit is designed for people who are unable to work due to a disability or long term condition, e.g. arthritis. It consists of financial help and personal support which will help people to undertake some form of work.

It is a replacement for Incapacity Benefit and Income Support which were paid to people with an illness or disability.

Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

A benefit which is paid to people who are unemployed who are undertake part time work for no more than 16 hours a week.

Council Tax Benefit (CB)

This benefit is paid to people who are on a low income and pay council tax. This is often paid in conjunction with housing benefit.

Housing Benefit (HB)

This benefit is paid to people who are on a low income and require help with paying their rent. People who claim this often claim Council Tax Benefit as well.

Income Support (IS) This benefit is a form of basic income which is designed for people who are too sick to work but do not qualify for ESA (employment and support allowance). This is usually due to insufficient National Insurance contributions.

Pension Credit (PC) Another means tested benefit: this is aimed at people aged 60 and is designed to top up their state pension. There are two set amounts:

  • £132.60 for single people
  • £202.40 for couples

These amounts may be larger if you are disabled, housing costs such as mortgage interest payments or act as a carer for someone else.

(Source: www.direct.gov.uk)

Direct payments

These are a series of cash payments which are designed to be used by someone with a disability or long term illness to pay for personal care.

These payments are administered by your local authority. The idea is that you use these to pay for your own personal care rather than expecting it to be provided by your local authority.

This gives you a greater say in the type of service you receive and enables you to retain your independence.

Who can claim these payments?

Anyone over the age of 16 who is a carer; people who act in loco parentis for disabled children; disabled people aged 16 and above.

You can use the money to purchase aids to use at home or pay for carers to help you at home. This can also be used to pay for a personal assistant.

Note: when we say ‘personal assistant’ we mean someone who will help you with tasks at in and outside the home. This is to prevent confusion with the other meaning of the term ‘personal assistant’ or PA.

This refers to someone who is a highly qualified executive secretary and acts as an aide to a director or CEO.

If you require a personal assistant then contact your social services department.

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