Going into hospital

You must inform the relevant benefit office when you go into hospital and when you come out. If you don’t report changes and you're overpaid as a result, 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:

Disability benefits:

If you've been in hospital for 28 days, you should stop receiving these benefits:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

If you're discharged but go back into hospital within 28 days, the days spent in hospital on both occasions will be added together and if the total is more than 28 days you will lose eligibility until you go back home. You'll still be paid for the days you spend at home between hospital stays.

When you go into and leave hospital, contact the relevant helpline:

  • Attendance Allowance (AA) 0800 731 0122
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) 0800 121 4600
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) 0800 917 2222

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 0300 456 4566.

Other benefits:

Carer’s Allowance (CA)

If you receive 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 0800 731 0297. It may stop sooner if you've been in hospital or had a break in care in the previous six months.

If someone receives CA for looking after you, it will stop after you've been in hospital for 28 days (when you lose your disability benefit).

Council Tax Support

Council Tax Support is paid by your local council and you'll need to check the conditions of entitlement with them.

Housing Benefit

You can continue to get Housing Benefit while you're in hospital for up to a year, provided your property hasn’t been let or sub-let. In exceptional circumstances this may be extended. The amount of Housing Benefit you receive may be affected when AA, DLA care component or PIP daily living component stop after 28 days.

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is paid for an indefinite period as long as other conditions of entitlement are 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, which may affect the amount of Pension Credit you're entitled to. 

You can contact the Independent Age Helpline for advice. For more information, see our factsheet Hospital stays.

There are special rules for people who are terminally ill.

Going into a care home

Disability benefits:

If you go into a care home, your disability benefits (Attendance Allowance, DLA or PIP) may continue or stop, depending on who pays your fees.

Your benefits will continue if you:

  • pay your own fees
  • have entered into a deferred payments arrangement with your council (where your care costs are covered and then claimed back later so you can delay selling your home)

Your benefits will stop if:

  • you receive help with your fees from your local council
  • the NHS pays your fees (NHS Continuing Healthcare)

The mobility component of your PIP or DLA will continue if you're in a care home, but stops if you're in a nursing home.

Carer’s Allowance (CA)

Carer’s Allowance will stop if the person you're caring for moves into a care home and their disability benefits stop. If their benefits continue and you're still providing care for more than 35 hours a week, your allowance may continue.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

If you move into a care home permanently you will no longer receive Housing Benefit. Contact your local council about help with Council Tax.

Pension Credit

If you live in a care home, your entitlement to Pension Credit is calculated in the same way as if you lived at home. The first £10,000 of your savings and capital will be ignored.

If you’re living in a care home and receive Savings Credit, the local council should apply a savings disregard during the financial assessment. This is worth up to £5.75 a week for a single person and £8.60 for couples.

 

Next steps

You can find contact details for your local council on gov.uk/find-your-local-council

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