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Benefits introduction

This section of the website is purely a guide. Individual circumstances and government changes will ultimatley reflect the type of benefit you may be entitled to and the amount you recieve. We try to keep this as up to date as possible but this is still only to be used as a guide.

While access to financial assistance via the benefits system may be essential at times, it is worth considering that becoming dependent on benefits can, in some cases, not work to your overall advantage. Naturally if your ability to work is severely hampered by your health then there may be little choice about whether to apply.

However, becoming dependent on benefits can be part of a vicious cycle of dependency. For some people this can lead to lowered self esteem or feelings of lowered self efficacy. In these instances it may be wise to consider whether depending on benefits is in your best interests overall.

A useful guide to disability benefits is the Disability Rights Handbook, available from

Disability Alliance
Universal House
88-94 Wentworth Street
London. E1 7SA.

Tel: 020 7247 8776, Fax 020 7247 8765.

It is also available in libraries.

If you are diagnosed with hepatitis C this does not automatically give you entitlement to benefits from the Benefits Agency. However, if your condition affects your ability to carry out day-to-day activities, continue to work or the condition is having a significant impact of your physical or mental health then you may be eligible for certain disability benefits.

Carers may also be entitled to benefits. In addition, if you are on a low income, even temporarily, you may be entitled to Income Support. If you are temporarily unable to work because of your condition you will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. Other financial help may include housing benefit and reduced council tax.

Dependent on your location your local authority may also provide free travel cards and concessions at local authority amenities if you are on certain benefits. Forms are usually available from main postoffices. Application forms for any state benefits are available at the Benefits Agency, the telephone number will be in your local directory or you could call the Benefit Enquiry Line (BEL) on: 0800 88 22 00.

The people answering this telephone line are trained specifically about benefits for those who are sick and/or disabled and will help you with the form if you would like them to. Or if you would like assistance in applying for benefits you could make an appointment with your local Citizens Advice Bureau who will be able to advise you of your entitlement and help you fill in the relevant forms. You can also contact your local independent advice centre, you should find this in 'The Yellow Pages' telephone directory.

For information about local authority concessions you should call your local Civic Centre or Town Hall. Concessions can be available if you are registered disabled and/or have a blue disabled badge.