Advice: I have had to stop working due to sickness. Is there any financial help I can get?

Pat Hutchinson MBE.
Pat Hutchinson MBE.
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By Pat Hutchinson MBE, District Manager, Newtownabbey CAB

Q: I am a 30-year-old single person who has recently had to come out of work sick after working full time. I am only entitled to Statutory Sick Pay of £87.55 a week from my employer and I am really worried as I also have rent to pay and I don’t know how I will be able to afford it. Is there any other help for me?

A: While you’re off sick you may be eligible for Working Tax Credits. You will still be seen as working for the first 28 weeks of being off sick and this can help to make up the loss of income.

Due to the drop in your income there may also be help available with rent through Housing Benefit. If you are off for a long term health problem you may also fit the criteria for Disability Living Allowance, which you can continue to receive if you decide you are fit enough to return to work in the future and you still fit the criteria for DLA.

If you have been off for over 28 weeks because of poor health then you will qualify for a disability element in your Tax Credit award, which can increase the amount you receive. The hours you work to be eligible for Tax Credits will also reduce to a minimum of 16 per week.

• Get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau or log on to www.adviceguide.org.uk

Call Newtownabbey CAB, Dunanney Centre, Rathcoole on 028 9085 2271 or email enewtownabbey@citizensadvice.co.uk