With the cost of living becoming a major concern for most everybody, my thoughts came around to how people with PD live day to day, where their income is threatened.
I thought I would share a few things with other members, that may not be known by everyone. If one single person benefits from any of this information, then it would have been worthwhile my listing this info.
- PIP. Personal Independence Payment. This is claimable by anyone who suffers an illness such as PD. In simple terms the amount of PIP you get depends upon the severity of your condition. It has 2 component parts, one is a lower payment that is claimable according to a points system that assesses the severity of your condition. The other is an enhanced rate, payable generally when your mobility is such that you cannot walk far. This means that anyone who cannot stand and then walk 50 metres safely, to an acceptable standard, repeatedly and in a reasonable time period automatically receives at least the standard rate of the Mobility component of PIP. If you can stand and then move more than 1 metre but no more than 20 metres, either aided or unaided, you would qualify for the higher rate. There are also similar scoring rules for 20-50 metres that would again qualify you for the higher rate.
PIP at the higher rate qualifies you for a brand new motability scheme car every 3 years in exchange for the higher component part of your PIP payment. This is the most amazing scheme ever, you simply pay for fuel then. Your car, tax, insurance, maintenance, AA cover, even the tyres and punctures are all covered. Obviously if you cannot drive because of your condition, you can add named drivers without any charge. Or you can simply have all of your PIP paid to you rather than have a car.
The thing about PIP is IT IS NOT A MEANS TESTED BENEFIT. This means that you can claim it whether you are in work, out of work, earning or not. Makes no difference as long as you meet the criteria. Anyone can get it…you’ve just got to be knackered up, to be blunt.
- Blue Badges. If you qualify for PIP, and/or have difficulty with mobility, you may well qualify for a ‘Blue Badge’. This is renewable for £10 every 3 years. It allows you the use of disabled parking spaces, allows you free parking in many instances, allows you to park in many places that ordinarily you wouldn’t be allowed. Apply to local council.
- Council tax relief. This is a little advertised benefit that you may qualify for depending on the severity of your condition. If successfully claimed, you become what is known as ‘a disregard’ to the council. In other words you disappear from the bill. If you live alone this means that you would pay no council tax. If you live with a partner, then you would get a 25% reduction in council tax.
- Toll roads. Another little known benefit. If you have a blue badge, you can apply to many toll roads, including the M6 toll, for a free pass. This qualifies you for free usage of the toll road. This is renewable periodically.
- Utilities, ENERGY. Many households where an earner has PD are of course affected by a substantial drop in income. Ask your utility provider what discounts you are eligible for! Many energy providers provide an annual payment called ‘a warm home discount’. This amounts to about £150 per year off your energy bill for people on a low income.
- Utilities. WATER. Again another little advertised scheme. Many water boards have schemes in place for those on a low income. Below £17K you qualify for a discount of 60% off your yearly bill for year 1, and then 40% off your bill yrs 2+3! This can amount to a massive saving.
- Pension credit. Another often MISSED benefit, by way of £millions. For those of a pensionable age, look into your eligibility. Complete a benefits calculator on websites like ‘age concern’, ‘entitled to’ or ‘turn2us’ (they’re completely anonymous). I only bumped into this benefit for my parents quite recently, they should have claimed ages ago. It made a huge difference to their quality of life. Pension Credit tops up: your weekly income to £182.60 if you’re single, your joint weekly income to £278.70 if you have a partner. Pension Credit helps you to qualify for other benefits too, such as a free TV licence. There is a higher component to Pension Credit called GUARANTEED Pension Credit. If you qualify for this, this opens other doors to increased benefits and free healthcare.
- Private Pensions. I’m not qualified in any way to advise financially on pensions, but if you have a private pension, and you cannot work because of PD, you can cash in that pension right now, in part or in full. This is not an advisable option for many, but would release a lump sum, perhaps at a time when it was needed so desperately by someone finding themselves unable to work because of PD.
If anyone else has any other life hack suggestions, please post away!
I’ve had this wretched disease now for 15 years. Anyone suffering from PD should know, and check their eligibility, for all of the above. Having your ability to work, and thus your income threatened/turned off, can be a massive blow to the sufferer. In turn this can add to your PD. In the first instance I didn’t know what I didn’t know, if that makes sense. Like I said at the beginning of the post, if I can just help one person, I’ll be totally happy.
Best of luck,