Benefit entitlement following a stay in hospital
Q. I am currently receiving Statutory Sick Pay, I have just been discharged from hospital following surgery. Other than my SSP I am not getting any other benefits, have savings or other form of income. I rent privately and pay council tax. I will probably need help with care needs following my discharge. I live by myself. What benefits may I be able to claim in this situation?
A. In order to get help towards your rental costs you will need to submit a claim for Universal Credit. As you are currently receiving SSP you can claim UC without any job seeking commitments as the DWP will accept you have limited capability for work. You will also not be required to attend any medical assessment to assess your capability or incapability to work whilst receiving SSP.
The Universal Credit will include money towards rental costs capped at the appropriate local housing allowance rates based on your age and assessed needs. You should already be receiving the single person discount for your council tax but you may also be entitled to additional help under your local authorities council tax reduction scheme.
SSP is normally paid for a 28-week period and if you are still incapable of work when the SSP ends then your Universal Credit will include an amount for your daily living costs (although this amount will be less than SSP rates). After SSP ends you will likely be required to undergo a medical examination to assess whether you have limited work capacity in order for the UC to be paid on grounds of sickness. If the DWP do find you fit for work following an assessment you do have the right to appeal the decision.
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Finally you may wish to consider a claim for Personal Independence Payments if you have care needs.
Before making a claim you do need to demonstrate that the health condition creating your care needs has been present for the three months prior to claiming PIP and that the condition and care needs will last for at least 6 months following the claim for PIP.
So if, for example, you have had an accident and are expected to make a full recovery in a short period of time you will not meet these conditions but if the health problems are long term or chronic and therefore your care needs will be then a claim would be advisable.