In the UK, over seven million people of working age have a registered disability. This is a staggering statistic when you consider that the UK working-age population stands at just below 41 million people, which works out at around one in six people of working age having a registered disability.

Disabilities vary widely in their characteristics and the impact they have on people's lives, and what qualifies as a disability is often a point of much contention. The 2010 Equalities Act defines disabilities as a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to carry out normal daily activities.

Most people with disabilities are in work. However, some disabilities are so severe that people are unable to work due to the impact. Whether in work or not, people with disabilities and their carers are eligible for a number of benefits, depending on the severity of their disability and what it impairs them from doing.

We are going to take a look at what disability benefits can be claimed, who can claim them, and how much they are worth.

There is a wide range of financial support and benefits available for people with disabilities. These may include finances to support vehicle and transport costs, home and housing costs, VAT relief, income support, or carer fees, among others.

The amount of support you are eligible for will depend on your disability. Some benefits may be temporary and will only be offered for a period of temporary impairment, and some benefits are available in perpetuity.

So let's jump in and take a look at the details of what benefits are available and who is eligible to claim them.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP is for people between the ages of 16 and 65. You are eligible to claim PIP no matter your earnings or savings if:

  • You have a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability.
  • You have difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around.
  • You expect the difficulties to last for at least 12 months from when they started.

PIP is divided into two categories of payment which is based on your score on a PIP test:

  • Standard payment of £57.30 per week. For people who score between 8 and 11 on the PIP test.
  • Enhanced payments of £85.60 per week. For people who score 12 points or more on the PIP test. People who are terminally ill will automatically qualify for the enhanced payment.

If you have mobility issues and difficulty walking, you may also get an extra:

  • Standard mobility payment of £22.65 per week.
  • Enhanced mobility payment of extra £59.75 per week.

These mobility payments are in addition to the regular PIP allowance.

An Attendance Allowance is available for those who are state pension age or older.

Disability Premiums

Disability premiums are extra amounts of money added to some benefits for people with disabilities. The premiums can be added to:

  • Income Support.
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
  • Housing Benefit.

There are 3 types of disability premium for adults:

  • Disability premium, which is £35.10 a week for a single person or £50.05 a week for a couple.
  • Enhanced disability premium, which is £17.20 a week for a single person and £24.60 a week for a couple if at least one of you is eligible. This is an additional top-up to the regular disability premium.
  • Severe disability premium, which is £67.30 a week for a single person and £134.60 a week for a couple if you’re both eligible. Again, this is in addition to the regular disability premium.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)

IIDB is for people who have been disabled due to an accident at work, or who have an illness that was caused by work. IIDB is not eligible for people who were self-employed at the time.

The nature of your disability will affect the amount of money you are given. This will be judged by a medical advisor.

The benefit ranges from £36.58 per week, £182.90 per week.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

ESA is available to people with disabilities or illnesses that make it hard to work and who have savings of less than £16,000.

ESA is a payment of:

  • Up to £74.70 a week if you are able to work in the future.
  • Up to £114.10 a week if you are unable to work in the future.

You cannot get ESA if you claim Jobseekers allowance or Statutory sick pay.

Reduced Earnings Allowance

Reduced Earnings Allowance is for people who cannot earn as much as they used to due to an accident or illness that was caused by their work.

The amount you receive depends on how much you earned during regular employment but can be as much as £73.16 a week.

You cannot get Employment and Support Allowance if the accident or illness happened after 1 October 1990.

Carer's allowance

Carer's allowance is for carers who care for someone at least 35 hours a week. If you are a full-time carer for someone with a disability, you can claim £67.60 per week.

You do not have to be related to, or live with the person you care for.

If someone else also cares for the same person as you, only one of you can claim Carer’s Allowance.

Low-income benefits

People with disabilities are eligible for the same benefits as those without disabilities. For example, if you are out of work you may be eligible for Universal Credit or Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction from your local council.

VAT relief

You do not have to pay VAT on certain goods and services if they’re just for your own use and you are disabled or have a long term illness. This includes things like stairlifts and adjustable beds.

Under the Equality Act 2010, you are disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

'Long-term negative effects' refer to any impairment that has lasted longer than 12 months. 'Substantial negative effects' refer to a task taking much longer than it would normally due to the disability.

Progressive conditions, which get worse over time, may also count as a disability.

In most scenarios, a medical advisor will perform an assessment to determine the classification and severity of the disability.