Diabetes and Benefits
There are a number of free welfare benefits that may be available to people with diabetes if complications lead to difficulty in daily life.
In addition, all people with diabetes mellitus in the UK are entitled to free eye checks and all people on diabetes medication should receive free prescriptions.
In terms of the benefits related to long term health conditions and disabilities, eligibility for benefits depends on to what extent the life of an individual is affected by diabetes or any addition health issues.
The most likely people to be eligible for these kind of benefits include:
- People with mental health problems (including depression)
- Serious complications
- Learning disabilities
- Older or young people
What is the purpose of disability benefits?
The aim of disability benefits is to help those people that need it, whilst incapacity benefits are intended for those that, physically or mentally, are unable to work.
What benefits are available to me?
There are a number of benefits available for people with diabetes and/or their carers.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Disability Living Allowance is available for people over the age of 16 years old with care and/or mobility needs.
For care needs, there are three tiers of benefit from needing care for short periods up to care covering both night and day.
For mobility needs there are two tiers, covering care for those who need guidance and the higher tier for people who find the act of moving around difficult.
DLA for parents of children with diabetes
Parents of diabetic children may also claim for disability living allowance if there are significant care needs above those of other children of the same age.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
In 2013, Personal Independence Payment replaced Disability Living Allowance for people between the ages of 16 and 64.
For care needs, there are two tiers of benefit for both mobility and daily living needs.
The tier you may qualify for, and therefore how much benefit you receive, depends on the extent of care needs you have, which is assessed on a points basis.
Attendance Allowance for over 65s
If you are over 65 and have specific care needs for safety reasons or to carry out basic tasks, you may wish to claim Attendance Allowance.
There are two tiers available, higher and lower, depending on your specific care needs.
There are two tiers available, a lower tier for day or night needs and a higher tier for day and night needs.
Employment and Support Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance may be available to you if you have a disability or illness that affects your capacity to work.
As with all benefits, a number of qualify criteria apply. Since 27 October 2008, Employment and Support Allowance has replaced Income Support and Incapacity Benefit.
However, if you have been receiving either of these benefits previously, you may still be eligible to receive them.
Covering Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit, Pension Credit is available to those reaching a minimum qualifying age and satisfying a number of other means tested criteria.
Those who have a disability or caring responsibilities may help increase the chance of eligibility.
If you’re on a low income and financially in need of help to pay the rent, you may be able to claim housing benefit.
The qualifying criteria for housing benefit includes whether you have savings under a certain level, however, whether you work or not is not an issue.
You can only claim for housing benefit for single room/bedsit accommodation if you’re under 35 and single.
Are there other types of disability benefit?
Other types of disability benefit include Attendance Allowance, which applies in particular for those people over the age of 65 who need supervision for over a six month period.
Furthermore, carers may be entitled to claim some benefits.
The Citizens Advice Bureau is able to check on your benefits eligibility, so if you believe that you are entitled to more benefits than you are getting it is worth contacting them.
For those people seriously affected by retinopathy, it may also be worth contacting the RNIB for assistance.
How to claim benefits?
To make a claim, call the Benefit Enquiry Line or download the relevant claim pack from the Directgov website.
If you need to appeal
If you wish to appeal against a decision, you can submit an appeal by downloading the GL24 pack.
The Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to provide you with help towards making your appeal.