Benefits and financial assistance

Many people find that their financial situation changes after they have a stroke. This page tells you about the main benefits, grants and other financial help available, and where to go for specialist advice.

Financial changes after a stroke

Coping with the aftermath of a stroke can be tough. You and your family may suddenly be faced with financial difficulties, especially if you are no longer able to work. If you have a disability, you may need to pay more for things like heating, transport and specialist equipment. People tell us that this is a real worry.

Financial help is available through the benefits system. You can also get help via your employer, local council and other organisations.

Benefits calculators

Many people are not aware that they can get help, or are not claiming all the support they may be entitled to. You can check what benefits you might be able to get by using an online benefits calculator. These can also tell you about the support available if you have been financially affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

These are some you can choose from:

More details about each benefit and how to claim are on gov.uk/welfare. You can also get individual advice from organisations including Citizen’s Advice and Independent Age.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) is the main benefit for working-age people. Universal Credit is now in place for nearly all new claims across the UK.

The benefits now replaced by Universal Credit are:

  • Income Support, income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA).

  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

  • Housing Benefit.

  • Working Tax Credit and;

  • Child Tax Credit. These are now known as ‘legacy benefits’.

Moving over to Universal Credit

If you are already on a legacy benefit, you will be contacted about moving over to UC by 2024. You’ll be moved to UC earlier if your situation changes for any reason, such as starting a new job or having a baby. You can’t claim or move onto Universal Credit if you are on a legacy benefit and you get the Severe Disability premium.

If you are already claiming benefits, you will automatically be moved over to UC by September 2024. You will be told this is happening. If the amount of Universal Credit you get is lower than your previous benefit, a ‘transition protection’ payment will top up the amount of UC so that you don’t lose out.

How you are paid

Universal Credit is a single amount paid to a household. For a couple living together, the circumstances of both people are taken into account. Payments go into one bank account. For a couple, this can be a single or joint account, depending on what you agree together. There are some benefits you can choose to claim as an individual such as contribution-based Job Seekers Allowance. In England and Wales, Universal Credit is paid monthly.

In Scotland, you may be able to choose if you are paid once or twice a month. You can also choose to have the housing costs element paid direct to a landlord. In Northern Ireland, you are normally paid twice a month. You can ask to be paid once a month.

New claims and advance payments

Your first payment should be made within five weeks. You can apply for an advance payment, which is repaid from future payments. You can also apply for a Budgeting Advance loan for emergency household costs.

Advance payment

To request an advance payment while you wait for your first Universal Credit payment, apply through your online account. The amount you get will depend on your full Universal Credit payment and how much you can afford to pay back. The repayments are taken from your monthly payments over a period of up to 12 months.

Advice on budgeting

The Money Helper website offers advice about claiming and living on Universal Credit. It looks at managing on a single monthly payment, paying rent, and saving. If you are claiming as a couple it’s important to talk about money and make plans for your family finances together. The Money Helper website covers the pros and cons of having a joint account, and looks at how couples can talk about money together.

Budgeting Advance

A Budgeting Advance can help with emergency costs such as replacing a washing machine, or house moving costs. It’s available to people who have been claiming UC for six months or more, with earnings below a set amount It is repaid through your monthly Universal Credit payments.

You apply by contacting your local Jobcentre Plus work coach through your online UC account. What you can borrow:

  • Single people: up to £348.

  • Couple: up to £464.

  • If you have children: up to £812.

  • Single and under 25: £265.31.

  • Single and 25 or over: £334.91.

  • In a couple, both under 25: £416.45 for both.

  • In a couple, either over 25: £525.72 for both.

You can read more about benefits and financial assistance in the PDF below.

Information guide

Where to get help and information from the Stroke Association

Helpline
Call us on 0303 3033 100,from a textphone 1800 0303 3033 100
Email: helpline@stroke.org.uk
Our Helpline offers information and support for anyone affected by stroke, including family, friends and carers.

Other sources of help and information

GOV.UK

Provides information for disabled people and their carers on issues such as employment, benefits and entitlements.

Local council Use the postcode search to get contact details for your local council

NI Direct Information on employment, benefits, tax credits and grants and how to claim in Northern Ireland.

JobCentre Online NI Tel: 0300 200 7822

mygov.scot How to find and use public services in Scotland.

Individual advice

Age UK

Advice Line: 0800 678 1602

Offers individual support and advice about benefits.

Age Scotland

Helpline: 0800 124 4222

Advice and practical support with claiming benefits in Scotland.

Carers UK

Carers Line: 0808 808 7777

Provides support and information for carers.

Citizens Advice

England: 0800 144 8848
Wales: 0800 702 2020

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS)

Helpline: 0800 023 1456

Citizens Advice Ireland

Citizens Advice is a free advice service that can help you deal with a wide range of issues. They give benefits advice and can help you fill in the claim forms. To find details of your local Citizens Advice branch, their advice line number and open door sessions visit their website or look in your local telephone directory.

Disability Law Service

Phone: 020 7791 9800
Provides free legal advice to disabled people and their families and carers. Assists with complaints to Ombudsmen and social services and can represent people at benefit appeal tribunals.

Disability Rights UK

Phone: 020 7250 3222
Publishes the annual Disability Rights Handbook and factsheets on the different benefits available and the planned changes to the benefits system.

Different Strokes

Information line: 0345 130 7172
Email:info@differentstrokes.co.uk
Offers information on benefits for younger stroke survivors.

Independent Age

Helpline: 0800 319 6789

Email: advice@independentage.org

A charity that offers advice and support to older people.

MoneyHelper

Tel: 0800 011 3797

Set up by the government to offer free, unbiased, independent advice on all money matters. Visit the website or call the helpline.

Scope

Helpline: 0808 800 3333 textphone 18001 0808 800 3333

Email: helpline@scope.org.uk

Support, information and advice for disabled people and their families.

Step Change

Debt advice: 0800 138 1111

Offers free, impartial advice on managing debts and other money matters.

Grants

British Gas Energy Trust

Tel: 0121 348 7797

Apply for a grant to help with energy bills, other household debts or essential items.

Florence Nightingale Aid in Sickness Trust

Tel: 0207 998 8817

Provides grants for help with services, equipment and respite breaks.

Independence at Home

Tel: 0208 427 7929

Email: iah@independenceathome.org.uk

Provides grants for adaptations, specialist equipment and other items.

Mobility Trust Website:

Tel: 0118 984 2588

Email: mobility@mobilitytrust.org.uk

Purchase or loans of powered wheelchairs or scooters.

Professionals Aid Guild

Email: admin@professionalsaid.org.uk

Financial help for members of the professions and their families.

The Sawyer Trust

Email: info@sawyertrust.org

Helps women aged over 50 who are in need of financial help.

The Sequal Trust

Tel: 01691 624 222

Email: info@thesequaltrust.org.uk

Funding for specialist communication aids.

Disclaimer: The Stroke Association provides the details of other organisations for information only. Inclusion on My Stroke Guide does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement.