What is Incapacity Benefit? Who can get it? How much is it? These are all questions you may be asking if you have been unable to work because of an illness or disability.
Well never fear, because in this guide we will answer all your questions and more. We will discuss what Incapacity Benefit is, how much it pays, and how you know if you are eligible for it.
What is Incapacity Benefit?
Incapacity Benefit is a benefit that is currently being replaced by the Employment and Support Allowance. It is meant to give money to people who are unable to work because of a disability or illness. Doing ‘permitted work’ is, however, allowed.
Can I be moved over to Employment and Support Allowance?
If you are already receiving Incapacity Benefit, you may be reassessed to see whether or not you are still unable to work. If you still qualify, you will be moved over to Employment and Support Allowance.
What happens if my Incapacity Benefits claim is reassessed?
Your claim for Incapacity Benefits may be reassessed from time to time. If this is the case, your local Jobcentre Plus will send you a questionnaire that will ask you questions on your ability to undertake daily tasks.
The reassessment process will go as follows:
- Filling out the questionnaire that is sent to you and sending it back by the deadline. You may be required to submit a medical letter or report with it.
- The Jobcentre Plus may decide that you need to go to a reassessment meeting based on your answers to the questionnaire and any other relevant information. If this is the case, you must attend or risk losing any benefits you receive.
- The reassessment will take place and will determine whether you are able to work or not.
If the reassessment determines that you are able to work, you will no longer receive Incapacity Benefit and will be contacted by your local Jobcentre Plus to set out the steps you need to take to get back into employment. In some cases, you may at this stage qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance.
If the reassessment determines that you are unable to work, you will be transferred over to Employment and Support Allowance.
What is meant by permitted work?
Incapacity Benefit is intended for people who are unable to work because of an illness or disability. However, you may be able to do some work and still be eligible. The following is considered ‘permitted work’:
- Work that earns you less than £152 weekly and is for a treatment programme or overseen by someone from a volunteer organization or local council.
- Work that earns you less than £152 weekly and is for 16 hours or less.
- Unpaid volunteer work.
It’s important to note that the more you earn, the less your incapacity benefit is likely to be.
What if my circumstances change?
If your situation changes you must notify your local Jobcentre Plus office straight away. Any change may impact on your right to Incapacity Benefit or the amount you receive.
Failure to notify your local Jobcentre Plus of a chance can lead to you losing the benefit or even facing court action for fraud.
Is Incapacity Benefit covered by the Benefit Cap?
Yes, it is. Most people over 16 years old and under State Pension age are subject to the Benefit Cap. This limits the total number of benefits that someone is able to claim.
What if I live abroad? Can I still claim Incapacity Benefit?
It depends on where you live. Some countries have agreed to a ‘Social Security Agreement’ with Britain meaning that you may still be able to receive UK benefits if you live abroad. These countries include:
- Republics of the former Yugoslavia
- The Philippines
- Jersey and Guernsey
For a comprehensive list, check out the Government’s website.
If you live in a country not on the list, then you will probably not be able to claim UK benefits.
If you plan to move abroad, we advise you to contact your local Jobcentre Plus to see what benefits, if any, you can claim once you’ve relocated.
How do I apply for Incapacity Benefit?
The short answer is you don’t. Incapacity benefit has been replaced by Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). If you wish to apply for ESA, you can do so on the Gov.UK website or by calling the ESA helpline.
If you are eligible for ‘new style Employment and Support Allowance, you could also apply for Universal Credit.
What do I need in order to apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)?
To apply for Employment and Support Allowance, you need the following information:
- If you work your income details.
- The name, address and phone number of your doctor.
- If you claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) the date on which it ends. Note that you cannot get ESA if you receive Statutory Sick Pay, paid for by your employer.
- The account number and sort code of your building society or bank account.
- Your National Insurance number.
How much is Incapacity Benefit?
All remaining claimants of Incapacity Benefit will be paid at the long-term basic rate of £118.25 per week (from April 2022) plus any age-based addition:
- Did you know?!If the incapacity began under 35 this is £12.55. If the incapacity began between the age of 35 and 44 this is £6.95.
For details of how much Employment and Support Allowance pays, check out our guide elsewhere on our website.
Incapacity Benefit is a lifeline for anybody with a severe illness or disability that prevents or limits their ability to work. Unfortunately, its complex nature can be difficult to comprehend, especially now that it is being replaced by Employment and Support Allowance. We hope that with a little help from our guide you feel like you understand the topic a little better.
For more informative workplace information, check out the rest of our website.