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Hospital and benefits

When you or a member of your family go into or come out of hospital, the welfare benefits you get may change. What will happen to your benefits depends on the type of benefit you get. A stay in hospital can also affect the benefits your partner or carer gets.

1. Benefits in hospital

Some benefits stop being paid or go down when you, your partner or child have been in hospital as an in-patient for a set period of time. Others are paid in full. 

You should tell whoever pays the benefit (e.g. Jobcentre Plus, your Universal Credit journal, the Pension Service, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or the local authority) as soon as you go into hospital. They can then make any changes that need to be made so that you are not paid too much or too little. 

If you move from a care home into hospital, you also should tell the people paying your benefits straight away as the rules for hospitals and care homes are different. 
 

Updated: June 2019

2. Benefits that stop being paid if you go into hospital

If you are aged 18 or over, payments of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Attendance Allowance (AA) you get will stop after you have been in hospital for 28 days.  If you are under 18 on the day you enter hospital, your DLA or PIP payments will not stop.

If your DLA, PIP or AA payments stop, they will be paid again as soon as you come out of hospital. If you come out of hospital but have to go back in within 28 days your benefit will stop again as soon as you are staying in hospital again.

If you were living in a care home before going into hospital and payment of DLA care component, PIP daily living component or AA had stopped, you will not be paid when you go into hospital. Also, after 28 days in hospital, payment of the mobility component of DLA or PIP will stop.   

 If you have a car through the Motability scheme, you should tell Motability  if you are likely to be in hospital for more than 28 days. 

 

Updated: June 2019

3. Non-means tested benefits

If you get the following benefits, the amount you get for yourself will not change if you go into hospital.  You will carry on getting the benefit. However, if you get any extra money in the benefit for another person, for example for a child or your partner, this will usually stop after you have been in hospital for 52 weeks:

If you get contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), it will be paid in full while you are in hospital. It will be paid indefinitely but after you have been in hospital for 52 weeks you will no longer be paid the support or work-related activity component.

If you get contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), it will stop when you are sick and not able to look for work for more than two weeks. You should get advice to see if you can get another benefit instead.

 

Updated: June 2019

4. Carers

If you get Carer's Allowance for looking after another person, your Carer's Allowance might stop when you go into hospital. Carer's Allowance will stop being paid when you have been in hospital for 12 weeks. It may stop before 12 weeks if you have had other breaks from caring in the six months before you go into hospital.  

If someone gets Carer’s Allowance for looking after you, their benefit will stop after you have been in hospital for 28 days.

If someone who was getting Carer’s Allowance was also getting additional amounts in their other benefits because they are a carer, the additional amount will carry on being paid for eight weeks after the Carer’s Allowance stops.

If they were getting a Carer’s Element in Universal Credit, their Carer’s Element will stop after you have been in hospital for 28 days.
 

5. Means-tested benefits when you go into hospital

If any of the benefits you get are paid because you have low income and savings, they may go down after 28 days and go down again or stop after 52 weeks in hospital. 

This applies to these benefits:

If you are getting Universal Credit, the amount you get may go down after you have been in hospital for six months. 

6. Statutory Sick Pay and Working Tax Credit

If you were working when you became ill, you might be getting Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

SSP will be paid for the first 28 weeks that you are not able to work. If you were self-employed, you might be able to apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). You may also continue to get Working Tax Credit in addition to SSP or ESA for the first 28 weeks if your income and savings are low.  It is no longer possible to make new claims for Working Tax Credit.

7. Benefits to help pay your rent, Council Tax or mortgage/home loan

If you rent your home and get Housing Benefit (England, Scotland and Wales) or Housing Benefit (Northern Ireland), your benefit will stop if you are going to be in hospital for more than 52 weeks.

Your Council Tax Support will also stop if you are going to be in hospital for more than 52 weeks.

If you rent your home and get help to pay your rent through Universal Credit, your Housing Element will stop if you stay in hospital for more than six months or if your stay is expected to be longer than six months. 

If you are buying your home and get help through a Support for Mortgage Interest Loan how long you can get help with your mortgage for while you are in hospital depends on your circumstances. If you are getting Support for Mortgage Interest alongside a legacy benefits claim, your Support for Mortgage Interest loan will stop after you have been in hospital for 52 weeks. If you are getting Support for Mortgage Interest alongside a claim for Universal Credit, your Support for Mortgage Interest loan will stop after you have been in hospital for six months.

You should get advice from an expert benefits adviser if you are going to be in hospital for a long period of time.  If you have a partner, they might need to make a claim for benefit.

You can use the Turn2us Find an Adviser tool to find a local adviser.

8. Your partner's or carer's benefits when you go into hospital

Your partner should tell whoever pays them benefits that you have gone into hospital. The amount of benefit they get may change if you are likely to be in hospital for a long time or if they are your carer.

Your carer will stop getting Carer’s Allowance once you have been in hospital for 28 days. You must also tell the people paying your benefits if your partner starts work, claims another benefit or has any other change in circumstances that could affect the amount of benefit you or they get.    

If you are going to be in hospital for more than six months, your partner might have to claim benefits for themselves. Most new claims for benefits are claims for Universal Credit.

Get advice if this applies to you. You can use the Turn2us Find an Adviser tool to find a local adviser.

 


 

 

9. Benefits for your children

You can carry on getting Child Benefit when you are in hospital as long as you use the money to support the child and no one else applies for the benefit for your child.  It may be better for someone else to claim Child Benefit especially if you are going to be in hospital for a long time. Get advice if this applies to you.

You can carry on getting Child Tax Credit for a child who normally lives with you when you are not in hospital. It might be better for someone else, for example the person looking after your child, to claim Child Tax Credit when you are in hospital. Get advice if this applies to you.

You can carry on getting the Child Element of Universal Credit for a child who normally lives with you when you are not in hospital. It might be better for someone else, for example the person looking after your child, to claim the Child Element when you are in hospital. Get advice if this applies to you.



You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local adviser.

10. Benefits for a child who is in hospital

If your child usually lives with you but is in hospital, you will stop getting Child Benefit for them after they have been in hospital for 84 days unless you are still needing to pay money for the child's needs.

Child Tax Credit will carry on being paid for a child who normally lives with you, but who is in hospital.  Benefit may stop if the child is in hospital for a long period of time. Get advice if this applies to you. You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local one.

The Child Element of Universal Credit will carry on being paid for a child who normally lives with you but who is in hospital. The Child Element might stop if the child is likely to be in hospital for more than six months.

11. Claiming benefits when you go into hospital

If you are not getting any benefits when you go into hospital, for example because you were working before you became ill, you might be able to get benefits when you are in hospital.

If you are not well enough to return to work when you leave hospital, you can carry on getting benefit for as long as you meet the conditions for that benefit.

If you were working when you became ill and went into hospital, you might be getting Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). SSP will be paid for the first 28 weeks that you are not able to work. You may also continue to get Working Tax Credit for the first 28 weeks if your income and savings are low. It is no longer possible to make new claims for Working Tax Credit.

If you need help with your living costs, you might be able to claim Universal Credit. Claiming Universal Credit from hospital can be hard to do because you need to claim online and not all hospitals give access to digital facilities. If you are struggling to make a claim for Universal Credit from hospital, you should contact the Citizens Advice Help to Claim service England: 0800 144 8 444, Wales: 08000 241 220, Scotland: 0800 023 2581


If you are not entitled to SSP, are not able to work due to ill health, have made enough National Insurance contributions and you are aged under State Pension age, you might be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance

If you are over State Pension Age you might be able to claim Pension Credit.

If you rent your home and are already getting Housing Benefit (England, Scotland and Wales) or Housing Benefit (Northern Ireland) you can continue receiving them while you are in hospital. If you need to make a new claim for benefits then you might get help with your rent for up to six months through Universal Credit. You may also get Council Tax Support.

If you are terminally ill, there are special rules for Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit. You can get benefit from the first day of sickness and will not have to score points in a medical examination. You will get Employment and Support Allowance with a support component or Universal Credit with a Limited Capability for Work Related Activity element from the start of your claim even if you are in hospital.


 

12. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Attendance Allowance

If you were not getting Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance when you went into hospital, if for example your need for care began when you went into hospital, you can make a claim while in hospital. It will not be paid to you until you come out of hospital.

If you are terminally ill

If you are terminally ill, there are special rules to help you get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Attendance Allowance (AA).

If your doctors say that you are terminally ill and reasonably expected to die within six months, you can get the highest rate of AA or highest rate of PIP daily living component straight away. It won't be paid while you are in a hospital but it can be paid if you are in a hospice.

You will need to ask your doctor/healthcare professional for a form called a DS 1500 and fill in the ‘special rules’ section of the claim form. Another person, for example your carer, relative or friend, can apply for AA or PIP under the special rules for you without your knowledge. If someone else makes the claim for you, the money will still be paid to you.

13. Help with the cost of travel to hospital

If you have to visit hospital to go to outpatient appointments or have treatment, you may be able to get help with your travel costs. If you need to have a friend or family member come with you to appointments, you might be able to get help with their travel costs too.

You can use the NHS website’s checking service to see if you can get help with your travel costs.

If you can get help with your travel costs, you will need to apply to your hospital’s scheme.

 

14. Discharge from hospital

If you have spent time as an in-patient in a hospital, it is the hospital's duty to arrange a discharge plan before you return home.

The hospital should carry out a needs assessment to assess the level of care you need will need in order to cope at home safely. Although this will be co-ordinated by a hospital social worker or care manager, your local council's social services department should also be involved.

No one should be discharged from hospital until they have had this assessment.

The help you can get depends on your care needs. For more information, see the Turn2us section on Help from the local council.

Any carers you have should be involved in the planning of this assessment and their needs taken into account when the hospital is assessing your needs. They are also entitled to a Carer's Assessment in their own right, which could be carried out at the same time or separately. For more information, see the Turn2us section on Help from the local council (Carers).

You remain the responsibility of the National Health Service (NHS) for six weeks after discharge, after which you become the responsibility of the local council's social services department.

If you are not assessed before leaving hospital, contact your social services department through your local council (link opens in a new window)

See the NHS Choices website for more information on leaving hospital (link opens in a new window)

Age UK have useful information on going into hospital and discharge procedures (link opens in a new window)

15. Financial help

If you cannot manage financially with the money you have when you are in hospital or when you come out of hospital, seek advice from a benefits adviser. You can find a local one using the Turn2us Find an Adviser tool.

You might also be eligible for a grant or other help from a charitable fund. You can search for grants from charitable funds using the Turn2us Grants Search.