The benefits system can be a bit of a maze if you’re not familiar with it. Find out how to make a claim for you and your loved one – and get the financial help you deserve

If you’re caring for someone with dementia you could be entitled to several benefits or allowances, but how do you go about getting them? Don’t let the application process put you off. Claiming benefits might seem daunting but there’s lots of help available.

Don’t know where to start?

You can find several free and reliable benefits calculators online which only take a few minutes to fill in and should give a fairly accurate guide to what you, and the person you’re caring for, might be entitled to – and it’s all anonymous too.

Start by going here.

Hate filling in forms?

Don’t panic, you can sometimes apply on the phone! Or you can get help with form filling (and general queries related to benefit claims) by going to:

  • The Citizens Advice Bureau
    Phone your local office and make an appointment to see someone. You might be able to request a home visit. Start here.
  • Age UK
    Phone the advice line on 0800 169 6565 or go here to find your local branch. You can request a home visit and face-to-face meetings or assistance filling in forms.
  • Social services
    If the person you’re caring for has a social worker, they might be able to help you with benefit claims.

8 common benefits – and how to get them

1. Personal Independence Payments

This is a new benefit for people under 65 which replaces the Disability Living Allowance (LNA)

How to claim: Call 0800 917 2222 if you want to make a claim, the phoneline is open from 8am -6pm Monday to Friday.

2. Attendance allowance

A benefit for people who are disabled and are over the age of 65.

How to claim: Call the Attendance Allowanced helpline 0345 605 6055, it’s open from 8am-6pm Monday-Friday.

Or go here to get an application form which you can fill in and post.

3. Carer’s allowance

This is a benefit to help you care for a person who is disabled.

How to claim: You can fill in a form online by going here.

BUT you must complete the form within 90 minutes or you will lose everything you’ve written and have to start again.

So if that sounds too stressful, you can apply by post. Go here and print off the form you need.

4. Carers Credits

This is a contribution towards your National Insurance which you might be entitled to if you don’t receive State Pension. You should get it automatically if you receive a Carer’s Allowance, if not…

How to claim: You can fill in a form online by going here.

You can get help with the form by calling 0345 6084321.

You should receive a letter within three weeks saying whether you are eligible or not.

5. Employment and support allowance

If you are a carer with your own health problems you might be entitled to this taxable benefit.

How to claim: The quickest way to apply is by phone. Call 0800 0556688.

You’ll need to have the following to hand:

- National Insurance number
- A valid medical certificate explaining your condition
- GP’s address and phone number
- Your mortgage or landlord details
- Council tax bill
- Employer’s address and telephone number and the dates of your employment

Or you can print out the ESA1 form by going here then send or take it to your local Jobcentre Plus office.

6. Cold weather and winter fuel payment

This is definitely worth applying for if you don’t already receive it.

How to claim: If you haven’t claimed for this before you can do it on the phone.

Call 08459 151515 and make sure you have the following information to hand:

- National Insurance Number
- Your bank details
- The date you were married

7. Council Tax exemption

This could save you or the person you’re caring for a considerable amount of money.

How to claim: Check with your local council if you are eligible for a discount (which can be up to 100 per cent).

Or go here, where you’ll be asked to enter your postcode and then you’ll be taken straight to the right place to begin your application.

8. Blue badge parking

A Blue Badge parking permit lets disabled drivers and passengers park nearer to where they’re going and can be extremely useful.

How to claim: Contact your local council and ask them to send you a form to fill in. Or go here and do it online.

For more details on all of the above benefits, click here.

Good luck!

Last reviewed 23/07/15