Claiming benefits when in hospital
When facing a hospital stay, your ability to claim financial support and benefits may be affected. However, it is important to understand that there are options available to help with your finances when you’re facing a prolonged hospital stay. This page provides information on claiming Benefits, Universal Credit, and the Carer's Allowance for those in hospital.
A hospital stay can affect your benefits. Whether you are caring for a child who is going into hospital, or facing a stay yourself, it helps to know what help you can get and how long for. Here is some advice to help you claim benefits when you or your child is in hospital.
How a hospital stay can affect your ability to claim financial support
If you or your child is going into hospital for one night or more you should tell the office that pays your benefits. This also applies if you or your child is going into a rehabilitation centre.
Benefits will normally stay the same for at least the first 28 days someone is in hospital. But if you are an adult and have already been in hospital in the past four weeks, these stays will be added together.
The rules for children are different. More details of this are below.
Some hospitals have onsite benefits advisors who can offer you advice.
Your benefits could be stopped or reduced if you do not report a hospital stay.
The importance of your finances while in hospital
Try to keep track of your money while you or your child is in hospital. You may want to ask a trusted family member or friend to help you do things like contact the benefits office.
Claiming benefits in hospital
You can still claim most benefits during a hospital stay for you or your child. But you should tell the benefits office as soon as you can. You will need to tell them:
- Your full name
- Date of birth
- National Insurance number
- Your partner’s details if they are on your claim
- The date you or your child went into hospital
- The name of the hospital and the ward if you know it
- If you or your child moved between hospitals
- Any other hospital stays in the last 28 days
- Where you or your child were discharged to
If you ask a friend or family member to call for you, they will also need to give their name and contact details.
You should also tell the benefits office when you leave hospital. If you do not tell them it could result in incorrect or delayed payments.
Do my benefits stop if I’m in hospital?
Your benefits do not just stop when you are in hospital. But they may change. What happens to your benefits will depend on several things like:
- How long you are in hospital
- The types of benefit you get
- Whether you are claiming for yourself or your child
How long in hospital before my benefits stop being paid?
If you are claiming benefits for yourself, most claims will stay the same until you have been in hospital for at least four weeks.
If you are under 18 on the day you go into hospital, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP) should not change.
Claiming disability benefits in hospital
If you are an adult when you go into hospital some benefits stop after 28 days. These are:
If you are under 18 when you go into hospital DLA and PIP will continue. It does not matter how long you are in the hospital for.
Claiming low or no-income benefits in hospital
Low and no-income benefits may change if you spend a long time in hospital. This is because Income Support and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) can depend on what disability benefits you are getting.
Claiming housing benefit in hospital
If your other benefits reduce or stop you should tell your local council. You may be able to get more Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.
If your home is empty because of your stay in hospital you do not have to pay council tax.
Housing Benefit stops once you have been in hospital for 52 weeks.
Claiming child benefits if your child is in hospital
Child benefit payments might change if your child is in hospital for more than 12 weeks.
If your child is under 18 when they go into hospital you can still claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP) on their behalf. It does not matter how long they are in hospital for.
Long stays in hospital can affect other benefits.
Universal Credit for your child stops if they are away from home for six months or more. This includes when they are in hospital.
If your child is in hospital for more than a year it may affect your housing benefits.
If you get a Carer’s Allowance for your child this should stay the same if you are still caring for them for at least 35 hours a week.
How being in hospital affects Child Tax Credits
Child Tax Credit should carry on being paid while your child is in hospital.
You may get extra Child Tax Credits if your child gets Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Receiving benefits for your partner if they’re in hospital
If your partner goes into hospital and you receive benefits for them you should tell the benefits office as soon as you can. You will stop getting Carer’s Allowance once your partner has been in hospital for 28 days.
If your partner is going into hospital for more than six months you might have to claim benefits for yourself. This will usually be Universal Credit.
Universal Credit when in hospital
Universal Credit payments should not change unless you or your child is in hospital for more than six months. But you should still report any overnight hospital stays. You can do this by using your Universal Credit online account. You can also call the helpline on 0800 328 5644.
If you or your child has been in hospital for more than six months you can contact our free welfare advice service for support.
How to claim Universal Credit when you go into hospital
If you already have a Universal Credit account you just need to report any overnight hospital stays. You can do this via your Universal Credit online account.
If you do not have an account, you can set one up online here.
Carer’s Allowance and hospital stays
Carer’s Allowance can be affected by hospital stays. This might be because the person you care for is going into hospital. It might be because you are a carer going into hospital yourself. It could be that your carer is going into hospital.
You should report a hospital stay as soon as you can. You can do this online here or call 0800 731 0297. In Northern Ireland, call the Disability and Carers Service on 0800 587 0912.
How to claim Carer’s Allowance in hospital
If you are claiming Carer’s Allowance for your child, your claim should stay the same if you still provide at least 35 hours of care a week while they are in hospital. If you stop doing this, the allowance can still carry on for up to 12 weeks.
If you are claiming for someone over 18, you will stop getting Carer’s Allowance once they have been in hospital for 28 days.
Can you claim Carer’s Allowance if the carer is in hospital?
If you are caring for someone and go into hospital yourself, you can claim Carer’s Allowance for up to 12 weeks. You must meet the following conditions:
- You have been giving 35 hours of care or more a week for at least 14 of the past 26 weeks
- The person you care for has received certain benefits during that period
Your Carer’s Allowance will stop if your total breaks add up to more than 12 weeks in 26.
Carer’s Allowance for the terminally ill
If you are caring for someone over 18 who is terminally ill for at least 35 hours a week you may be able to get Carer’s Allowance.
If you are under state pension age and caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week you may be able to get Carer’s Credit.
If your child is under 16 and has less than 12 months to live you may be able to get extra Disability Living Allowance (DLA) support.
Reclaiming Carer’s Allowance once out of hospital
If your Carer’s Allowance has stopped while the person you care for is in hospital you will need to reclaim it.
You can do this online here or call 0800 731 0297. In Northern Ireland, contact the Disability and Carers Service on 0800 587 0912.
How does statutory sick pay work if you’re in hospital?
If you were working before going into hospital you should get Statutory Sick Pay. This is the minimum amount your employer should pay you. It is paid for up to 28 weeks.
If you are in hospital for more than 28 weeks you can claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
Financial support for the self employed in hospital
If you are self employed you do not qualify for Statutory Sick Pay. Instead, check if you have enough National Insurance contributions to get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
How to tackle your bills while you have cancer
You should try to stay on top of bills when you are in hospital. Get more advice on how to manage bills when you or your child has cancer here.
Useful resources for managing benefits in hospital
You can get help to manage your benefits if you or your child is in hospital. Our free Welfare Advice Service is run by trained advisors. You can find out more here.
You can also contact: