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 includes:

  • Income support
  • Cold weather payments
  • 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.

2022/23 benefit rates for people on a low income 

Click on the plus icons below to see the current rates.

  • Personal allowance (if aged over 25): £77 weekly
  • Couple (both aged over 18): £121.05 weekly
  • Enhanced disability premium: £17.75 weekly
  • Severe disability premium: £69.40 weekly

You may be able to claim Pension credit if you have reached State pension age.

The figures below will be updated if a change in rates is announced for 2022/23.

You will get a lump sum for winter if you have reached State pension age by a week that will be set by the government – this changes every year.

For last year, the following amounts were paid – if you received Pension credit, income-based Jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), or income-related Employment and support allowance (ESA), £200. The amount for people or their partner aged over 80 was £300.

For anyone not receiving Pension credit, income-based Jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), or income-related Employment and support allowance (ESA), the rates were:

  • £100 each (£200 in total) for a couple who both qualify.
  • £300 for people aged 80 or over (maximum per household).

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 do qualify, current amounts of your payment will be £100, or £150 if you are aged over 80.

What is Income support?

Income support is a means-tested benefit to help people with basic living expenses. It is for people who have not reached pension age and who are not required to be available for work, such as carers.

Can I claim Income support?

You can’t make a new claim for Income support, because it’s being replaced by Universal credit. People on Income support will be invited to claim Universal credit instead at some point.

A carer amount will be included in Universal credit if you have ‘regular and substantial caring responsibilities’ – whether or not you get Carer’s allowance.

Unable to work because of a disability or illness? You may be able to claim ESA instead of income support.

Learn more

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.

Find out how to claim benefits, including those for people on a low income.

Learn more

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 free for anyone aged 60 and over, although the government is looking at potential changes to this)
  • free dental treatment from NHS dentists
  • 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 (under certain circumstances).

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.

Find out when the NHS may pay for the care of a person living with dementia.

Learn more
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