There are a variety of benefits for people with disabilities, care needs and for those caring for other people, such as Personal Independent Payment (PIP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Carer’s Allowance.

However, finding out about eligibility and getting appropriate help to make a claim is not always a straightforward process. The benefits system is complex, and the rules often change. Before you start, it is often worth seeking expert advice from a benefits adviser or getting in touch with your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

In Scotland your social work department should offer you a benefits check as part of a care needs assessment. Citizens Advice and other welfare rights services can also do checks. Find your local money advice or welfare rights service through Money Advice Scotland.


Things to bear in mind:

♦   If your circumstances change, your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help check what you’re entitled to.

♦   Get your entitlements checked regularly, as the rules for existing benefits are often updated and new benefits are introduced.

♦   Some benefits are affected by earnings, other types of income and the amount of savings or capital you have.

♦   The main changes take place on 5 April each year, so mid-April may be a good time to have an annual benefits check at a local advice agency.

♦   Some benefits are affected by a claimant’s age, so check your entitlement when you/your partner/your children turn 16, 18, 60, or 65.

♦   If the symptoms of your NMO get worse it is worth arranging a benefits check, particularly if any progression in your NMO looks like it will be long-term.

♦   Many benefits overlap, so if you receive one there may be others that you cannot get.

♦   The rules about some benefits may also vary between England,Scotland,Wales and Northern Ireland.

The MS Society publication Benefits and MS has more information, which is also relevant to NMOSD, or call the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 88 22 00 if you need an application form for any benefit.

See what benefits you could be entitled to online by answering questions anonymously about your savings, income and outgoings on the Direct Gov website.


Useful websites

Community Legal Advice
A network of organisations in England and Wales offering advice about legal rights – including information on benefits. Community Legal Advice line number – 0845 345 4 345.


Charity that helps people access the money available to them. Includes a benefits checker.


The Brain Charity
A charity offering practical and emotional help to those affected by a neurological condition, including help with claiming benefits.


Benefits and Work
Site offering information and guides to understanding and claiming benefits as well as checking your eligibility.


Advice Now
An independent, not-for-profit website that has information across a range of subjects, including claiming benefits.


Disability Rights UK
Produces the Disability Rights Handbook and is a leading authority on social security benefits for disabled people.

The Blue Badge Scheme

You are automatically eligible to apply for a badge if you:

  •  receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance
  • are registered blind
  • receive a war pension mobility supplement
  • have a permanent and substantial disability which means you cannot walk or which makes walking difficult.
  • drive a motor vehicle regularly, have a severe disability in both arms and are unable to operate all or some types of parking meter

For further information and other criteria methods please contact your council’s social services office or inScotlandthe social work department to apply for a blue badge.