Hospital and benefits - Claiming benefits when you go into hospital
When you or someone in your family go into or come out of hospital, the benefits you get may change.
- Last reviewed 23 October 2023
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.