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What benefits can I get?
It's important to ensure you get all the help that you're entitled to.
Citizens Advice has produced an online guide containing information on benefits and tax credits. This will give you an idea of the benefits available.
To see what benefits you qualify for, use a Benefits Calculator. This will also tell you how to claim and how your benefits will be affected if you start work.
I have never claimed before. What's involved?
To claim a benefit, you will usually have to fill in a form, either on paper or online, or make a telephone call. Each benefit has its own claiming process. See Information on who to contact to make a claim which includes links to claim forms where available.
You can claim Jobseeker's Allowance online or on the phone. If you try to claim by phone, you are likely to be assessed to see if you could claim online, if necessary, by using a computer belonging to friends, family or another organisation. You may also be offered an appointment to use a computer in a Jobcentre Plus office. If you feel unable to make an online claim, for example, because of language or other problems, you should make this clear and you should be allowed to claim by phone.
You can claim on the phone by calling Jobcentre Plus:
Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
Housing Benefit & Council Tax Reduction
If you are subsequently in receipt of either income support, income related employment and support allowance, or income based jobseekers' allowance then you may also be entitled to claim housing benefit or council tax reduction.
Citizens Advice has produced online guides containing information on how to make a claim for Housing Benefit and how to apply for Council Tax reduction.
Can I appeal my ESA decision?
How you appeal a benefit decision depends on the type of benefit you applied for and the date the decision was made. It is therefore important to check the date of your decision letter.
Decisions made before 28th October 2013
You will need to use form GL24. Further guidance can be found at appealing decisions made before 28 Oct 2013.
Decisions made on or after 28th October 2013
You must phone or write to the Department for Work and Pensions to ask them to explain the decision. Ask for the decision to be looked at again (known as mandatory reconsideration). Appeal the decision if you are unhappy with the mandatory reconsideration. Further guidance can be found at appealing decisions made on or after 28 Oct 2013.
Citizens Advice has produced an online guide containing information about ESA and how to appeal. Alternatively you can get helpful information about how to prepare for an ESA appeal from a Leicester City Council Welfare Rights Service leaflet called Employment and Support Allowance appeals guide. This guide takes you through the steps for challenging a decision if you have been refused ESA following a work capability assessment.
I look after my Mum. Can I get carer's allowance?
In principle Carer's Allowance is payable if you help to look after someone with substantial caring needs for 35 hours or more per week. There are however a number of restrictions. Citizens Advice has produced an online guide containing information on the conditions you must satisfy.
Carer's Allowance is taxable and can also affect your other benefits; to find out the implications of this use a Benefits Calculator to work out how much you can get and what if any benefits will be affected.
It's important to check with the person you are caring for before you make a claim for Carer's Allowance as they may lose some of their benefits.
We only get state pension. Is there anything else we can get?
If you are an older person you may be able to claim a number of additional benefits including Pension Credit. Citizens Advice has produced an online guide containing information on what benefits you can get when you are older. This will give you an idea of the benefits available.
To see what general benefits you can actually qualify for, use a Benefits Calculator or to see how much Pension Credit you may be entitled to use a Pension Credit Calculator. The calculator will give you an idea of how much Pension Credit you could get if you are eligible.
If you haven't found the answer to your question or the information you are looking for, you can:
Contact Hart Citizens Advice for help
Find another organisation who can help
Alternatively, you can search our online directories to find an organisation that may be able to help you.