Are the sick entitled to any benefits?

8 October 2012


My husband is 61 and has a lung condition. He has reduced his working week in order to help improve his condition, but his health is still deteriorating.If he is unable to continue working up to the age of 65 will he be entitled to any benefits?I’m in full-time employment and will work for another seven years until I qualify for the state pension.
AK, Glasgow


I am sorry to hear about your husband’s illness. It sounds like he needs to consider whether he can continue working in light of his health problems. There are a number of options to consider.

1. Discuss with employer first

First, has he discussed with his employer the possibility of retirement on health grounds? If he is in an occupational pension scheme he may be able to take his pension early.

If your husband is a member of a trade union, or if his workplace has an employee assistance scheme, he can get impartial advice from them.

2, Employment and Support Allowance

Second, if he is no longer able to work because of his health, he should consider making a claim for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

ESA can be paid up to the age of 65 (for men), whenthe state pension becomes payable instead. However, for some people ESA can only be paid for up to one year.

Your husband will need to get a medical certificate (now commonly called a fit note)from his GP to support a claim for ESA.

3. Disability Living Allowance

Third, it sounds like your husband should also consider claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA). This is paid to people under 65 who need personal care and have mobility problems. You can find out more about ESA and DLA and how to claim them at

I would suggest you seek advice on all the above from a benefits adviser. You can use the adviser tool at uk to find a local one.

Alban Hawksworth is a welfare benefits specialist at welfare advice charity Turn2us