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A comprehensive guide to welfare benefits

Man counting coins - welfare benefits

If you have suffered an injury or illness at work, you may be entitled to claim Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) welfare benefits.  Depending upon your financial circumstances, you may also be entitled to means-tested benefits.  This fact sheet sets out the DWP benefits that may be applicable to your circumstances.

Means-Tested Benefits

Means- tested benefits are intended to help your financial situation, either by as a top  up to a low income or as a basic income if you‘re not receiving any pay:

  • Income Support
  • Income based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit

 (These above are universal credit)

  • Local Authority Funded Care
  • Council Tax reduction
  • Free prescriptions and healthcare

Non-means- tested benefits

Non-means-tested benefits don't take into account your income and savings in the same way as means-tested benefits do, but they do have their own rules which must be met.

Contributory benefits:

These benefits are to replace earnings if, for example you lose your job or are unable to work because of illness or disability.  Whether you get the benefit depends on if you (or in some cases your partner) have paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions.  If you have, then you are entitled to Employment & Support Allowance (previously Incapacity Benefit).

Non-contributory benefits:

These benefits don’t depend on how much you have paid in National insurance contributions, and are mostly intended to help with the extra costs of having a disability or caring for someone with a disability. Examples of such benefits are Carer’s Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Income Support and Tax Credits.

Statutory benefits:

These benefits replace your earnings if you are off work due to maternity, adoption, paternity, or sickness and are paid through your employer. Statutory sick pay is one such example.

Social Fund

The UK Government Social Fund was set up to make payments to people in exceptional or intermittent need. It was abolished in 2013 following the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and funding is now made available by individual local authorities, or by the respective devolved Governments for Scotland and Wales.

Carer’s and Disability Benefits

Carer’s Allowance is available if you spend at least 35 hours per week caring for an injured person.  In addition to other qualifying criteria based on income, you must not be in full time education for 21 hours a week or more.

Carer’s Credit is available if you are caring for someone for at least 20 hours per week.

Attendance Allowance is paid to help with personal care if you are physically or mentally disabled.  Your carer may also qualify for Carer’s Allowance.

A Personal Independence Payment (PIP) can also help with the extra costs associated caused by long term health or disability. Although PIP is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance for those aged 16-64, it is still possible to make a claim for Disability Living Allowance for children under 16 years.

Universal Credit

You may be able to claim Universal Credit instead of certain benefits if you’re on a low income or out of work.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages. Whether you can claim depends on where you live and your personal circumstances. You may be able to claim other benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance, if you don’t live in a qualifying area or you’re not eligible to claim Universal Credit.

For more information about Welfare Benefits and your entitlement please visit the Department for Work and pensions website at

Interim Payments

Your legal representative may be able to obtain interim payments for you if, for example, any welfare benefits are limited or you are struggling financially.  An interim payment is an advance on your compensation award and is usually only provided where liability is admitted, although court applications can be made where appropriate. If you are in need, you should ask your legal representative for advice about making a request for this type of a payment.