Help for people affected by dementia on a low income
People affected by dementia who are on a low income may be entitled to certain payments. This includes Income support, social funds and help with paying NHS costs.
What help is available to people affected by dementia who are on a low income?
If you are affected by dementia and you are on a low income, you may be entitled to some support. This may include:
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit
- Winter fuel payments
- Support with funeral costs.
If you are affected by dementia and receive certain benefits, you may also qualify for support in paying for NHS costs. This could be through:
- schemes to help reduce costs
- getting full help with NHS costs
- the NHS low income scheme.
2023/24 benefit rates for people on a low income
Click on the plus icons below to see the current rates.
- If you’re single (aged 25 or over): £368.74
- If you live with your partner (both aged 25 or over): £578.82 (for both)
Extra amounts depending on circumstances
If you can no longer work due to dementia or other health conditions, you could receive an additional amount:
- Limited Capability for Work monthly amount: £146.31
- Limited Capability for Work and Work-related activity monthly amount: £390.06
You may also be eligible for extra amounts if you are a carer, have dependent children or need help with housing costs.
If you have reached state pension age, you will be asked to claim Pension Credit instead. If you are in a couple where one of you is over state pension age and one of you is under state pension age, you should make a joint claim for Universal Credit.
You will get a lump sum for winter to help pay your heating bills if you have reached State pension age by a week that will be set by the government – this changes every year. The amount you get includes the Pensioner Cost of Living Payment.
The figures below are accurate for 2022/2023. They will be updated if a change in rates is announced for 2023/24.
If you live alone and claim either Pension Credit, Pension credit, income-based Jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), or income-related Employment and support allowance (ESA), you will receive:
- £500 if you were born between 26th September 1942 and 25th September 1956
- £600 if you were born before 26 September 1942
If you claim any of those benefits as a couple, one of you will receive a payment of:
- £500 if both of you were born between 26th September 1942 and 25th September 1956
- £600 if one or both of you were born before 26th September 1942
If you claim any of the benefits as a single person you will receive the same amount dependent on when you were born.
For anyone not receiving Pension credit, income-based Jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), or income-related Employment and support allowance (ESA), you will receive:
- £250 if you and the person you live with were both born between 26 September 1942 and 25 September 1956
- £250 if you were born between 26 September 1942 and 25 September 1956, but the person you live with was born before 26 September 1942
- £350 if you were born before 26 September 1942, but the person you live with was born between 26 September 1942 and 25 September 1956
- £300 if you and the person you live with were both born before 26 September 1942
If you live in a care home
To qualify for the winter fuel payment if you live in a care home, you need to have been living there for 13 weeks or more (prior to the qualifying date, see above). Additionally, you must not be receiving income-based Jobseeker’s allowance, Pension credit, or income-related Employment and support allowance.
If you are eligible, you will either get:
- £250 if you were born between 26 September 1942 and 25 September 1956
- £300 if you were born before 26 September 1942
Unable to work because of a disability or illness? You may be able to claim ESA instead of income support.
What is the social fund?
The social fund makes payments to cover exceptional costs such as cold weather and winter fuel payments and funeral costs.
Am I entitled to cold weather payments?
Cold weather payments are paid if the average temperature in your area falls – or is forecast to fall – to freezing or below for seven days in a row.
These payments are made automatically if you are receiving some means-tested benefits including Pension credit and Income support.
Am I entitled to winter fuel payments?
If you are at an eligible age, you will normally qualify for a winter fuel payment to help with your heating bills. The eligible age is linked to the State pension age.
Winter fuel payments are worked out per household.
This benefit is not means-tested or taxable, and will not affect any other benefits you are claiming. You should not have to make a new claim if you received a payment last year and your circumstances have not changed.
For more information, or to apply, contact the Winter fuel payment helpline.
Am I entitled to support with funeral costs?
If you are responsible for a funeral, you may be able to claim payment towards reasonable costs if:
- you are the closest surviving relative, and
- you are receiving certain benefits (such as Income support, income-based Jobseeker’s allowance, income-based ESA, Universal credit or Pension credit).
It is important to check your entitlement before making arrangements. You can claim up to three months after the funeral. The funeral payment often has to be repaid from the assets of the person who has died.
Schemes to reduce medical costs for people on a low income
There are schemes that may help you to reduce your medical costs. For example, you can buy a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) which allows you to get unlimited prescriptions during a set period for a set price.
This is available to anyone who prepays, and is not means-tested. You can buy it online or by phone – see the NHS website.
What is NHS full help with health costs?
Full help with health costs could include:
- free prescriptions (prescriptions are also currently free for anyone aged 60 and over)
- free sight tests and vouchers towards the cost of glasses – sight tests are also free for anyone aged 60 and over
- help with hospital travel costs for NHS treatment.
NHS hearing aids are prescribed by an NHS consultant to anyone needing them, as a free loan. They are fitted, serviced and supplied with batteries free of charge.
Am I entitled to full help with health costs?
Full help with health costs is automatically available if you or your partner get the following benefits:
- Income support
- income-based Jobseeker’s allowance
- income-related Employment and support allowance
- Pension credit guarantee Credit
- Universal credit (if you are under the earnings limit).
You’re also entitled to full help if you are named on, or entitled to, an NHS tax credit exemption certificate. You may be entitled to this if you are claiming Working tax credit or Child tax credit, but it depends on your circumstances.
Any dependent children under 20 included on your benefit or tax credit claim are also entitled to the same help.
What is the NHS low income scheme?
The NHS low income scheme provides help towards NHS health costs that are usually paid for – such as dentist or optician services.
Am I entitled to the NHS low income scheme?
If you aren’t eligible for full help with health costs but are on a low income and have savings below a set amount, you can apply for the NHS low income scheme.
The amount of financial help you receive will depend on your household savings and income. You may qualify if you are on a low income and have less than:
- £16,000 in savings, investments or property (not including the place where you live)
- £23,250 in savings, investments or property if you live permanently in a care home (£24,000 if you live in Wales).
How can I apply for the NHS low income scheme?
To apply, complete form HC1, which you can get from Jobcentre Plus offices and NHS hospitals. Some GPs, dentists and opticians may also have them. If you live in a care home you can apply on a special short form called HC1 (SC) – ask care home staff for this.
For more information on help with NHS costs, see the Department of Health and Social Care booklet HC11 ‘Help with health costs’. You can get this from any of the places mentioned above, or find out more on the NHS website.
There also other organisations that can give further information and support on benefits for people affected by dementia.
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