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Last updated:
19/10/2018

I was claiming benefits when I went into hospital. What will happen to them?

  1. Overview
  2. What happens to my money, home and pets when I go into hospital?
  3. Should I tell anyone that I have gone into hospital?
  4. I was working when I went into hospital. What happens to my pay?
  5. I was claiming benefits when I went into hospital. What will happen to them?
  6. I claim Universal Credit. How will this be affected?
  7. How can I pay my bills if I’m in hospital?
  8. I can’t afford my debts, what can I do?
  9. What if I cannot look after my money?
  10. Next steps

It is important that you tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if you go into hospital because some benefits stop after you have been in hospital for a certain amount of time.

Stage 1 – from day 1

Normally your benefits are not affected during your first 28 days in hospital, but if you were in hospital at any time in the 28 days before your current stay, these stays will be linked. This means that the different times in hospital are linked together and count as one period, so be aware of this.

Employment Support Allowance

While you are in hospital, you will automatically meet the basic health criteria for claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). If you are not claiming this benefit and are not getting sick pay, you could think about making a claim.

While you are in hospital, you will automatically meet the basic health criteria for claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). If you are not claiming this benefit and are not getting sick pay, you could think about making a claim.

Council Tax

If your property is empty because of your stay in hospital, it will be exempt from council tax, so make sure that you let your local council know so that they stop charging you for council tax.

You may also be permanently exempt from paying council tax if you get certain benefits and a doctor confirms you have ‘severe mental impairment’ – speak to your local authority about this.

Stage 2 – after 28 days

Some benefits stop once you have been in hospital for 28 days. These are:

If these benefits stop, your Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Universal Credit or Pension Credit may also be reduced, because some premiums depend on your entitlement to disability benefits. 

When this happens, you or someone you know should tell your local authority as they can look at your entitlement to Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.

If your carer gets Carer’s Allowance or the carer’s element of Universal Credit, their entitlement to this will stop when your DLA, PIP or AA stops.

Stage 3 - after 52 weeks

Some benefits stop once you have been in hospital for 52 weeks. These are:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Support for Mortgage Interest.

This means you would have to pay the full rent or mortgage payments on your home and if you do not pay the rent or mortgage you could be evicted.

If at any time in the 52-week period you spend one night at home, the 52-week period will start again, so you could receive HB for another 52 weeks.

If at any time in the 52-week period you spend one night at home, the 52-week period will start again, so you could receive HB for another 52 weeks.

If you live with someone else, they may be able to claim these benefits if they also have to pay the rent or mortgage payments.

If you are concerned about losing your home, you should speak to your local authority or mortgage provider.        

  

                  

Premiums

Sometimes if you are claiming benefits, you get extra money added to your claim if you meet certain criteria – these are known as premiums. The Severe Disability Premium, for example, is a premium you can claim on your ESA if you live alone and you are disabled.

Some premiums can still be paid for 52 weeks if you go into hospital but after this time, they will stop. This could mean that your benefit drops after you have been in hospital for 52 weeks, even if you are still eligible to receive benefits.

Couples

If you have a partner, you will still be treated as a couple for benefits purposes for 52 weeks. After this time, both of you will be treated as single claimants and you may need to reapply for benefits.

If you have a partner, you will still be treated as a couple for benefits purposes for 52 weeks. After this time, both of you will be treated as single claimants and you may need to reapply for benefits.

Get advice from a welfare rights specialist if this applies to you, so you can understand what you need to do to make new claims for benefits. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau usually has a welfare rights specialist, or if not, they can let you know of other organisations that can help:

Citizens Advice Bureau

Telephone (England): 08444 111 444

Website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk

 

Income Support, Income-related ESA and Pension Credit

If you receive Income Support, income-related ESA or Pension Credit, this continues to be paid to you even if you are in hospital for over 52 weeks. However after this, you will lose any disability premiums and means the amount you get will be less.

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Within this subject

  1. Overview
  2. What happens to my money, home and pets when I go into hospital?
  3. Should I tell anyone that I have gone into hospital?
  4. I was working when I went into hospital. What happens to my pay?
  5. I was claiming benefits when I went into hospital. What will happen to them?
  6. I claim Universal Credit. How will this be affected?
  7. How can I pay my bills if I’m in hospital?
  8. I can’t afford my debts, what can I do?
  9. What if I cannot look after my money?
  10. Next steps
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