Benefits: what people affected by dementia need to know

Around £19 billion in benefits goes unclaimed every year – what support might you be entitled to?

Claiming benefits can sometimes seem daunting, but you could be surprised by what you’re eligible for. 

Even for means-tested benefits, which take savings and income into account, the value of your home is always ignored. 

And not all benefits are means-tested – some are based on national insurance or the specific needs that you have. 

If a benefit doesn’t seem worth getting in your situation, check what additional help (such as cost of living payments) you get with it, as that could make a claim worthwhile. 

Get a benefits check to see what you’re entitled to receive. Here are some examples.

Note: for some means-tested benefits, a partner or spouse’s finances may be taken into account as well as yours.

I have dementia and I’m of working age 

If you stop working, you may be able to draw from a workplace pension (but always get financial advice before doing this). 

Working or not, Personal independence payment (PIP) covers additional costs due to disability, and this can include dementia.

You may get daily living or mobility components, or both. If both, this could be up to £172.75 per week. 

Universal credit helps with living costs. You get a standard allowance at first, but if you’re assessed as having ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’ you’ll get an extra £390.06 per month. How much you get may be affected by savings over £6,000, or by a partner’s income. 

Employment and support allowance (ESA) is based on national insurance contributions and isn’t affected by savings or income. If you can’t do work-related activity (including training courses or voluntary work), you could claim this for longer than a year.

I have dementia and I’m over state pension age 

The Guarantee credit element of Pension credit helps with living costs. Whether you’re eligible depends on your income and how much you’re seen as needing. 

For example, if a person who’s single and disabled has less than £277.45 per week, this would be topped up.

Even if you’d only get a small amount from Pension credit, claiming it makes you eligible for other help, such as full housing and council tax benefit. 

Attendance allowance helps with the costs of having a disability. It isn’t means-tested and could give you £101.75 per week. This doesn’t count as income if you claim Pension credit too. 

I’m a carer of working age 

You may be able to claim Universal credit, including a ‘carer element’. 

Or you could apply for Carer’s allowance, which isn’t means-tested so a partner’s income or your savings won’t matter. This would give you £76.75 per week.

You can work at the same time as claiming if you earn £139 or less a week after tax, national insurance and expenses. 

If you can’t get Universal credit or Carer’s allowance and aren’t working, Carer’s credit could prevent gaps in your national insurance contributions. 

I’m a carer on state pension 

State pension and Carer’s allowance overlap – even if you’re eligible for both, you’ll only actually get whichever one pays the most. 

However, if you’re eligible for Pension credit, claiming Carer’s allowance will top you up with an extra £42.75 per week. 

Help is out there 

Although the rules can seem complicated, a lot of help is available. Even if you’re initially turned down, 62% of appeals are successful overall – don’t give up! 

Find out which benefits you are entitled to, get a benefits check from a benefits adviser in your area through Citizens Advice or Age UK.

Dementia together magazine

Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
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Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
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8 comments

my husband has been told he’s got mid alzimers and prostrate cancer , he is 80 years old and has refused all treatment for both health problems ,and refused to accept either diagnosis, and has probably forgotten anyway , as a family we are struggling , on a good day i can cope with the help of my daughter , but more and more im relying on my daughter to cope , i am aged 77 recovering from kidney damage and Covid & pneumonia and sepsis , and i have asthma copd bronchiectasis and high blood pressure , My daughter has got lasting power of attorney for us both financial and health and well being , completed about 3 /4 years ago , we have been told we could claim attendance allowance but unsure what to do as it would be paid into his account and that wouldnt be of help to me to pay towards more help , please can you advise me , any advise on this appreciated , regards Georgina Johnson
Will I get any help on benefits if I have been told I have vascular dementia Alzeimers
I read your adds and find them very good, I know and can answer a lot of the questions, now I have dementia I’m told to do things your always done, the people I thought was friends do not won’t to know me, as if they’re loony Pete, I like to go to my pub I have been going there over 40 years but it’s not the same know , because I can’t remember names and my walking is poor so I am definitely not the man I used to be. dementia as made me very lonely my wife hardly talks to me, my son lives 5-10 mins away he don’t come and see me I would love to go to the football with him but he never asks, my other son lives and works abroad but he always sends my little recordings and texts, I’m 73 now and I wish I didn’t have this dementia and had my life back again, as you say in your adds thy don’t know how a dementia person is because thay don’t ask and definitely don’t understand what’s going on in your mind, if I didn’t have this ipad I would have know contacts, as my mum would say if you can smile you forget all your problems,. Buy
I value your email's. This is a good resource for all of us.
I am supporting my husband who has Alzheimer’s and Lewy body dementia but he refuses to go out or sit with carer so I can have a break not coping well
I'm a carer of a relative with dementia, but work part time and earn £142.00 a week, I'm not entitled to carers allowance. Also my Mum who has dementia receives Attendance Allowance. She's not entitled to PIPS because she didn't need it before she retired.
You should mention the Council tax rebate / discount as well, if your GP cerifies you as SMI (Severely Mentally Impaired), and you live with one other person, they can get a single occupant discount (in Wales it is 25%).
I have being told that i can get help with my council tax?