Benefits & tax credits

COVID-19 Coronavirus and welfare benefits

There have already been a number of changes to the benefits system in response to the current outbreak.

See our page answering some of the common questions about benefits that parents with a disabled child might have.

Benefits & tax credits

Browse this section for up-to-date information on the benefits you might be entitled to:

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Universal Credit

Carer's Allowance

Tax credits

Help with Council Tax & rates

'Bedroom tax'

The benefit cap

Other benefits

Benefits at 16

Changes in circumstances

Revisions, appeals & complaints

Welfare benefits in Scotland

And find out about:

Eligibility criteria

When to claim

How are benefits paid?

Future changes

Getting a benefits check

Eligibility criteria

There are a number of benefits and tax credits that you may be entitled to. Some benefits can be paid because your child is disabled while others may be paid to you for other reasons. For example, you may be getting disability living allowance (DLA) for your child and Carer's Allowance as their carer.

Some families on lower incomes also receive certain means tested benefits such as income support, child tax credit and housing benefit. However, in most cases new claims for these means tested benefits and tax credits have been replaced by Universal Credit. 

Each benefit and tax credit has its own set of eligibility criteria. This means you need to meet certain conditions to qualify.

  • To claim contribution-based benefits you need to have paid national insurance contributions in the past.
  • To claim means-tested benefits you must be on a low income, with savings of less than a certain amount.
  • To get tax credits you must either have children or be in work - and the amount will depend on the household income but not savings.
  • For non-means-tested benefits like disability living allowance, the claimant will need to meet criteria not related to work, income or savings.

Find out more about benefits in work.

When to claim

When you know which benefit or tax credit to claim, phone the appropriate office straight away. It is difficult to get awards backdated.

Some benefits (for example Disability Living Allowance) can't be paid for a period before the date you claimed, no matter what the circumstances. So long as you are not subject to immigration control, you should claim now, even if you are not sure you qualify, as you could miss out if you delay.

How are benefits paid?

Some benefits are paid as tax credits by HM Revenue and Customs. Different offices of the Department for Work and Pensions pay most other benefits. However, housing and council tax benefits are paid by your local authority.

Benefits and tax credits are usually paid directly into a parent's bank account. Any benefits for your child - such as DLA and child benefit - will be paid to you as their parent. When your child reaches 16 years they may be able to claim benefits in their own right.

Future changes

Most people who want to make a new claim for a means tested benefit need to claim Universal Credit instead. Currently this only affects new claimants and not existing claimants. However between summer 2020 and 2023 the government plans to move all existing means tested benefits claimants onto Universal credit as well. 

Between 2020 and 2022 The Scottish Government will be introducing new devolved disability and carers benefits in Scotland. These will replace Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Carer's Allowance.  

Get a benefits check

Use our Turn2Us online benefits calculator, contact our freephone national helpline or your local Citizens Advice Bureau or welfare rights unit to carry out a full benefits check for you.

Keep up to date with all the latest change to the benefits system by subscribing to our What's New newsletter.

Related information

Download our parent guide Money Matters - a checklist when your child has additional needs [PDF] to find out more about financial help you might be entitled to.

Browse our resource library for more information on finance and our parent guide to Benefits, tax credits and other financial help is currently being updated and covers topics such as:

  • claiming benefits and tax credits
  • benefits and looking after a disabled child
  • tax credits for working people
  • other sources of financial help
  • what to do if you are unhappy with a benefit or tax credit decision.

Sign up to our What's New e-newsletter to receive the latest updates about benefit changes.

Read our advice on support in work and finding and paying for childcare.


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