Carers Information

Benefits - when your child reaches 16

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Before age 16 a child 's DLA is paid to the parent/carer. When they reach 16, DLA can be paid to them in their own right. Does the young person need an appointee or agent? This can be a complex issue involving hard thinking about independance and budgeting issues.

As far as the benefit system is concerned:

  • If the young person is mentally unable to manage their affairs, then the parent can continue as an appointee for all benefit claims.
  • If the young person is mentally able to manage their affairs, but is physically unable to withdraw money from a bank or post office card account, they can arrange with the bank or post office for you, or someone else, to access their account.

Claiming DLA after age 16

If the young person is already on DLA and their claim comes up for renewal after age 16, or if they are age 16 and claiming for the first time, the rules for DLA Care are slightly different for people age 16 or over than for children.

Before age 16 there is an extra test for DLA Care and lower rate mobility: the parent has to show that the child needs more doing for them or more watching over, or guidance when walking outside than a non-disabled child of the same age. This extra test ends on the child's 16th birthday.

From age 16, young disabled people can qualify for the lowest rate of DLA Care if they are unable to prepare and cook a main meal for themselves. (The cooking test)

If the young person's DLA is reduced or stopped after age 16 but their level of care needs and mobility problems have not changed, or increased, get advice about appealing. Act quickly, you have to appeal within one month of the date on the decision letter.

Weekly Benefits - who should claim?

While the young person is still at school, or at 6th form or further education college, doing a course lasting more than 12 hours a week, there is a choice about who claims.

Either the parent can continue to claim child benefit and tax credits or additions for the young person on their own benefits. The parent can do this until they reach 20 or if they leave school or college before 20. Or the young person can claim benefits in their own right.

When deciding on who should claim, the parent needs to get individual advice on the financial effects on the family and which way the parent would be better off. Some families will be better off and some worse off, if their child claims in their own right. It depends on what benefits the parent claims for the young person and whether they are the youngest or only child in the family.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - ESA in Youth

This benefit can be claimed by young disabled people from age 16 to age 20 (or under age 25 if you have been in full time education or training) if the young person fits the ruled as having 'limited capability for work' for 28 weeks because of a disability or health problem. Just because the young person fits the rules for being having 'limited capability for work', it doesn't mean they can't work or won't move into work in the future.

If the young person is studying at mainstream school or college for more than 21 hours per week, you need to show that for at least some of the time the education has been specially tailored to meet their needs. Sometimes - but not usually - the hours and type of education can stop claims for ESA in Youth. Get advice if the young person is in the mainstream education at school or college.

ESA in Youth is claimed by ringing the Jobcentre Plus claims line - 0800 055 66 88 in Manchester. In order to claim you'll need a sick note from the young person's doctor saying that they have been unable to work for 28 weeks (196 days). There is a 13 week assessment period for ESA during which time a basic rate equivalent to Jobseekers' Allowance is paid. Following assessment an additional component is paid depending on whether the young person is considered capable of 'Work Related Activities or needs to be in the 'Support Group'.

For more information on claiming and the knock-on financial effects, get advice.

Back to the top

Carer's Council Tax Discount

  • Carer's are entitled to a discount on their Council Tax if the following applies to them:
  • The cared for person is over 18
  • The cared for person gets disability Living Allowance at the highest rate of the care component
  • The cared for person gets constant Attendance Allowance at the higher or increased weekly rate because the disablement is exceptionally severe
  • The cared for person gets an increase in Constant Attendance Allowance because a war injury caused very severe disablement

To claim Council Tax carers discount please print off, complete and return the Council Tax Carer's discount form to us Council Tax Service, PO Box 147, Manchester, M15 5TU or fax it on 0161 953 8226.

Back to the top

People who are severely mentally impaired

For Council Tax purposes, a person is severely mentally impaired if they have a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent. To be eligible for a Council Tax reduction, the person will need a doctor's certificate saying that they are severely mentally impaired and to be entitled to one of the following benefits:

  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Income Support including a disability premium (this includes anyone whose partner has a disability premium for them including in their income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Disability element of Working Tax Credit

If the person is over state pension age but would have been entitled to one of the above benefits if they were under state pension age, they may also be eligible for a reduction.

People who are severely mentally impaired are not counted when adding up the number of people in a property. So for example if a husband and wife were living together and one had a severe mental impairment, they would get the usual discount of 25% that a single adult living alone would get. If a property is occupied solely by people with a severe mental impairment, then No Council Tax is payable.

To claim severely mentally impaired discount please print off, complete and return the severely mentally impaired discount form to us Council Tax Service, PO Box 147, Manchester, M15 5TU or fax it on 0161 953 8226.

Back to the top

Disabled person's discount on Council Tax

This discount is so disabled people do not pay more Council Tax because they live in a larger property than they would need to if they were not disabled. Having a disability does not automatically entitle you to a reduction.

The entitlements for a reduction are that the property must be the main residence of at least one disabled person and it must have at least one:

  • additional bathroom or kitchen, or
  • a room (other than a bathroom, kitchen or toilet) used mainly by the disabled person to meet their needs, or
  • use of a wheelchair inside the home (if the wheelchair is for outdoor use only, this will not count).

The room or the wheelchair must also be essential or of major importance to the disabled person's well-being, due to the extent of their disability.

'Disabled person' in this context means a person who is substantially and permanently disabled. The disabled person can be either an adult or a child and does not have to be responsible for paying the Council Tax bill.

An extra room does not need to have been specially built, but your home will not qualify for a reduction unless the 'essential or of major importance' test is met. Simply rearranging rooms (for example, having a bedroom on the ground floor rather than the first floor) is unlikely to make your home eligible for a reduction.

What reduction you may get

If your home is eligible, your bill will be reduced to the next Council Tax band down. For example, a band D property will be charged a band C rate. Even if your property is in band A (the lowest band) you will still receive a reduction. It will be the same in cash terms as the reductions for homes in band B, C or D.

To qualify

  • The disabled person must live in the property
  • The disability must be substantial and permanent

All claims must include a supporting letter from the disabled persons doctor, occupational therapist or social worker.

The letter must describe the reason why the room or the wheelchair is essential or of major importance to the disabled person's well-being, due to the nature and extent of their disability.


To claim disabled person discount please print off, complete and return the Disabled person discount claim form to us at Council Tax Service, PO Box 147, Manchester, M15 5TU or fax it on 0161 953 8226.

Back to the top

Earnings limit increase

In April, the earnings limit for Carer's Allowance rose from £95 to £100. This means you can now earn up to £100 (after certain deductions) and still be eligible for Carer's Allowance.

Carers UK is compaigning for radical reform of carer's benefits and specifically wanting any earnings limit to be tapered to reduce the barriers for carer's who are able to work.

You can get more infomation about Carer's Allowance and carer's premium from the Carer's UK factsheet.

Ask us about Personal Independant Payment (P.I.P.)

Back to the top