Strokes can have devastating effects on someone’s life in various ways; it can change your body, your personality, put huge pressure on relationships and there can be a financial impact.  You may need financial help. A stroke might prevent someone from returning back to work or for someone to require carer assistance which comes at a financial cost. At a time where the shock of your world having been turned upside down it’s hard to know who to ask for advice or help and what you’re entitled to.

In this article I will cover a few main benefits, however charities such as the Stroke Association have well advised volunteers who can help you identify what you might be able to apply for or you can contact your local social services for help.

Financial help – Housing benefits

If you are on a low income you may be eligible for financial help with paying all or part of your rent. Housing benefits will be gradually replaced by Universal Credit, so if you make a claim through Universal Credit,  any financial help you would receive will come through the Housing Element of Universal Credit. The amount of Housing Benefit you may receive also depends on your personal and financial circumstances.

What is covered?

  • If you rent a property or room from a private landlord, your maximum Housing Benefit will be calculated with the Local Housing Allowance rules.
  • If you live in council accommodation or other social housing, the most Housing Benefit you can normally get is the same as your ‘eligible’ rent

Eligible rent includes:

  • rent for the accommodation
  • Charges for some services, such as lifts, communal laundry facilities or play areas.

Even if it’s included in your rent, you won’t get any Housing Benefit for:

  • water charges
  • charges for heating, hot water, lighting, or cooking
  • payments for food or fuel in board and lodgings or hostels

 

How do I claim?

  • If you are not working then you can claim housing benefit with employment and support allowance, income support or Jobseekers Allowance, call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688.
  • If you are claiming pension credit then you can claim housing benefit with this. Call the Pension Service on 0800 991 234.
  • If you are not claiming any of the above than you can get a form for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support from your local council.

Financial help – NHS Low Income Scheme

If you’re on a low income, this scheme could help you pay for all or some of your health costs. The amount you receive will depend on your household income and outgoings.  The help you are entitled to is also available to your partner.

You could get financial help towards:

  • NHS prescriptions
  • NHS dental treatment
  • sight tests, glasses and contact lenses
  • necessary costs of travel to receive NHS treatment

Who can apply: http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/HealthCosts/1136.aspx

How to apply: http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/HealthCosts/1128.aspx

 

Financial help – Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

What is it? If you need extra help because of an illness, disability or mental health condition you could get Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

To be eligible for a PIP, you must be:

  • be aged 16 to 64
  • need help with everyday tasks or getting around
  • have needed this help for 3 months and expect it to need it for another 9 months
  • usually be living in England, Wales or Scotland when you apply
  • have lived in England, Wales or Scotland for at least 2 years

There are exceptions to these rules if you’re terminally ill or in the armed forces

Click here for further details: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/help-with-your-pip-claim/how-to-claim/

 

Financial help – Council Tax Reduction

Council Tax Support (or Reduction) is a local discount on your Council Tax bill.  Every council in England has a local scheme for reducing the Council Tax paid by people on low incomes.  The amount of help you’ll receive will depend on which part of the country you live in as each scheme is set locally.

How do I apply? Contact your local council for an application form.

These are just a handful of benefits or financial reductions you may be entitled to. Use the links below to help you investigate further.

Useful links

Benefit Calculator: https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

Government UK: https://www.gov.uk/

Citizen’s advice: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Stroke Association: https://www.stroke.org.uk/

Written by Rachel Dines, Speech and Language Therapist