You must tell the relevant benefit office when you go into an NHS hospital and when you come out. If you don’t report changes you may be overpaid your benefits, and you'll have to pay back any money you owe. You may also have to pay a civil penalty. Your State Pension will not be affected.
A stay in hospital affects your benefits in the following ways:
If you stay in hospital for 28 days or more, you should stop receiving these benefits. When you go into and leave hospital, contact the relevant helpline:
If you're discharged but go back into hospital within 28 days, the days spent in hospital will be added together – if the total is more than 28 days, you’ll no longer qualify for those benefits until you return home. The day you enter hospital is counted as day one. The day before you leave a hospital is the last day. These rules are different if you get PIP – the day you leave hospital will count as your last day. You'll still be paid for the days you spend at home between hospital stays.
If you have a Motability agreement for a car, scooter or electric wheelchair before entering hospital, contact the Motability Scheme. They'll discuss appropriate arrangements with you about your lease, depending on your individual circumstances. Call the Motability helpline on 0300 456 4566.
If you receive Carer's Allowance (CA) for caring for someone else and you go into hospital, it will stop after 12 weeks. You must tell the Carer’s Allowance Unit – you can call them on 0800 731 0297. It may stop sooner if you've been in hospital or had a break in care in the past six months.
If someone receives CA for looking after you, it will stop after you've been in hospital for 28 days (when your disability benefit stops). They will have to make another claim for Carer's Allowance once you are out of hospital, which can be backdated for up to three months.
Council Tax/Local Government Support
Council Tax/Local Government Support is paid by your local council, so you'll need to check the conditions of entitlement with them.
You can continue to get Housing Benefit while you're in hospital for up to a year, as long as your property hasn’t been let or sublet during that time. This may be extended, but only in exceptional circumstances. You will still need to report a change in your circumstances to your local council, though. The amount of Housing Benefit you receive may be affected when AA, DLA care component or PIP daily living component stop after 28 days.
If you are in a hospital abroad, different rules apply. Call our free Helpline to book an appointment with one of our advisors, if this affects you.
Pension Credit is paid for an indefinite period, as long as other conditions of entitlement are still met. Some additions and allowances may be affected, such as Severe Disability Addition, Carer’s Addition and Pension Credit housing costs, depending how long you're in hospital for. This may affect the amount of Pension Credit you're entitled to, so you may get less money from it.
You can contact our Helpline on 0800 319 6789 for advice. For more information, see our factsheet Hospital stays.
There are special rules for people who are terminally ill.
Winter Fuel Payment
If you have been in hospital for more than a year, you will not be able to get Winter Fuel Payment. You will have to contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre to report a change.