Incapacity Benefit is only paid to existing claimants who were unable to work because of illness or disability before 31 January 2011. New claimants from 1st February 2011 receive Employment and Support Allowance. Note: this leaflet gives a brief summary of Incapacity Benefit and is for guidance only. It does not cover all situations, nor is it a full statement of the law. Sources of further more detailed information are given at the end.
How much is Incapacity Benefit?
Incapacity Benefit is payable at three rates, depending upon the length of time you have been unable to work. The basic rates below are as published on the Directgov website in April 2012.
- Short-term lower rate (for first 28 weeks of being unable to work) - £74.80 a week.
- Short-term higher rate (for weeks 29-52 of being unable to work) - £88.55 a week.
- Long-term rate (for after 52 weeks of being unable to work) - £99.15 a week.
Over state pension age (for people who reached this before 31 January 2011):
- Short-term lower rate (for first 28 weeks of being unable to work) - £95.15 a week.
- Short-term higher rate (for weeks 29-52 of being unable to work) - £99.15 a week.
Note: it is no longer possible to remain on incapacity benefit once pension age is reached.
Note: the rules for benefits can sometimes become complicated. The amounts shown above are a guide and your individual circumstances may affect the amount that you get. For example:
- Some rates are taxable.
- You may be entitled to additional money or benefits if you have adult dependants.
- You may get an 'age addition' if you are on the long-term rate and were under 45 when you first became incapable of work.
- You may be entitled to the long-term rate after 28 weeks of being unable to work if you get the highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance or you are terminally ill.
- You cannot get Incapacity Benefit if you receive a state pension. However, when you reach the state pension age and are claiming Incapacity Benefit, you may choose to continue receiving Incapacity Benefit for a few further years if that is a better option. You may need to take advice on which is the best option.
If you are not sure about how much you should be getting, and how it may affect other benefits, then seek expert help and advice. (See below for sources of help and advice.)
Payment is usually made directly into a bank account, building society account, Post Office account, or National Savings account.
Can you work while getting Incapacity Benefit?
Incapacity Benefit is usually stopped if you start work, but check with your local Jobcentre Plus office for up-to-date rules. You can do a small amount of permitted work without your benefits being affected.
Further information, help and advice
Directgov brings together the widest range of public service information and services online.
Produced by the Central Office of Information, Directgov provides information from across UK government departments on topics ranging from travel safety and parental leave, to special educational needs, local NHS services, and benefits. The site also brings together an increasing number of online government services - including being able to download and/or complete certain benefit claim forms online.
Citizens Advice Bureau
Provides independent advice on many issues including benefits. Listed in the phone book under 'Citizens Advice Bureaux'. Also, see their excellent website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Department for Work and Pensions
Their website provides a list of claim forms that you can download or fill in online for benefits, allowances, pensions and other payments - www.dwp.gov.uk/eservice/
Contact details of their local offices (Jobcentre Plus offices and other 'social security' offices) can usually be found in the phone book under 'Jobcentre Plus'.
Dr Tim Kenny