Welfare Benefits

M.E./CFS is an illness which is now 'officially' recognised. However, disability benefits are not awarded on the basis of having a particular illness, but on the basis of the individual's particular degree of disability. Benefits to which adults with M.E./CFS could be entitled are:



Statutory Sick Pay

Paid by an employer for up to 28 weeks.

For more information, phone 0845 302 1479 or visit the website.

Employment Support Allowance (ESA)

In October 2008 Employment Support Allowance (ESA) replaced Incapacity Benefit and Income Support for those too sick to work. After 28 weeks of being unable to work, the employer should supply a form to claim it. Sheffield M.E. Group can supply notes on applying for this benefit from the point of view of someone with M.E./CFS.

If you were already receiving Incapacity Benefit (IB) or Income support (IS), you will continue to receive it while you are eligible but the government intends to move all current claimants of IB and IS to ESA between 2010 and 2014.

Our Outreach Worker has written an explanatory article on ESA. To read it, please click here (opens in the same window).

For more information, call the Benefit Contact Centre on 0800 055 6688 or visit the ESA website. Additionally, Action for M.E. have factsheets giving details on the ESA claim process. These are available to download through the AfME website.


Permitted Work

This is work that you are permitted to do while claiming Incapacity Benefit or Employment Support Allowance. It allows you to test your abilities and may be a route to getting back to work without affecting these benefits.

There are rules of how much you are allowed to earn and how many hours you are permitted to work. Also, it could affect other benefits such as Housing and Council Tax Benefits, so seek advice from your Personal Adviser or Disability Employment Adviser at your local Jobcentre.

For more information visit the ESA website. See also the Employment Support section of the government's website for information about the support available to help disabled people to return to paid employment.


Income Support

This is the 'safety net' for those who are not required to sign on for work and it is means tested. For some claimants a disability premium may be payable.

For more information, call the Benefit Contact Centre on 0800 055 6688 or visit the website.


Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

This is for people under 65 who need help with getting meals, personal care, or with getting around. There is a 'mobility' component and a 'care' component. Depending on the degree of illness, people may qualify for either or both components. It is not means tested. Sheffield M.E. Group can supply guidance notes on applying for DLA from the point of view of someone with M.E./CFS. Please send a large S.A.E. to the office to receive a copy. We may also be able to help with filling in the application form.

For more information, phone the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 88 22 00 or visit the website.


Carer's Allowance

Carer's Allowance may be claimed by people who look after someone who is disabled. You don't have to be related to, or live with the person you care for; however, it is advisable to get expert advice before applying. Claiming carer's benefits may affect any benefits received by the person being cared for. Action for M.E. run a welfare rights helpline (01749 330136) which is a service available to members of the charity.

For more information, phone the Carer's Allowance Unit on 01253 856 123 or visit the website.


Working Tax Credit

This is a means tested benefit paid to adults (disabled and others) who are able to work 16 or more hours per week.

For more information, call the Tax Credit Helpline on 0845 300 3900 or visit the website.


Exemption from Road Tax

People receiving Disability Allowance with a high rate mobility component can claim exemption from road tax on a vehicle being used by or solely for the purposes of the disabled person.

Telephone the DLA Unit on 0845 712 3456 to ask for an exemption certificate or for more information visit the website.


Disabled Car Parking (Blue Badge)

There is an automatic entitlement for those in receipt of the higher rate of DLA mobility component or the Enhanced rate of PIP.

An application form can be downloaded from Sheffield City Council's website (at the bottom of page). For more information, call 0114 273 4908 or visit the government website.


Mobility Pass

This entitles a disabled person to free travel on buses and trams. You do not officially have to be in receipt of DLA or PIP to get one, but the issuers are expected to look for a similar level of disability in the claimant.

An application form can be downloaded from Sheffield City Council's website (at the bottom of page). For more information, call 0114 273 4908


Local Housing Allowance (Housing Benefit)

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a means tested benefit for those who rent their home. It a new way of calculating the amount of Housing Benefit paid. The latest Local Housing Allowance rates for Sheffield are also available.

For more information, phone 0114 273 6777 or visit the Local Housing Allowance website.


Council Tax Benefit

This provides a reduction of Council Tax for those on low incomes. Application is through the Housing Benefit office.

For more information, phone 0114 273 6777 or visit the website.


If you are having difficulties with a benefit application or an appeal, Sheffield M.E. Group may be able to put you in touch with someone with shared experiences to talk to over the phone. However, we do not give professional advice at an appeals stage.

We recommend that you read our guidance notes and seek professional advice, e.g. from an Advice Centre, in claiming disability benefits. Always keep copies of anything you send to the D.W.P.


Has Sheffield M.E. Group helped you? Please visit our Help Us to Help You page for many quick and easy ways to support us.

The inclusion of information of any kind on this website does not imply a recommendation or guarantee of accuracy. Nor are any views or comments necessarily those of the Group. Before embarking on anything different or new, you are advised to discuss this with your doctor. Sheffield M.E. Group is not responsible for external links.

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