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Benefits and HIV

Mother and children

In todays political climate there's a lot of change going on and especially so in benefits. If you're living with HIV and considering applying for benefits, or are thinking of going back to work and have concerns about how that might effect your benefits, it's worth finding out your rights.

First and foremost, although benefits might seem like a confusing maze, don't worry help is at hand.

Get in touch with THT Direct and we’ll put you in touch with a local advice service, or you can look up your local CAB.

General advice

  • Get expert advice or do your research before making or changing a claim.
  • Keep copies of all correspondence with the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP). If you must do something over the phone rather than in writing, make notes of the calls and the dates. Records and letters seem to go missing very easily.
  • Open and answer all letters from the DWP/Jobcentre Plus immediately, or as soon as possible. A lot of people lose entitlement because they can’t face dealing with the bureaucracy; there are people who can help you with this.
  • Always appeal if a decision is unfair or based on wrong information. Many people win a better decision on review or appeal because many initial decisions are poorly informed. Make sure you appeal within the deadline given, usually within 1 month of the decision. Again, expert help may be available with this.
  • If your doctor is likely to be asked to contribute a report on your health, it is a good idea to discuss this with them in advance, or at least let them know this may happen.
    You might also want to keep a diary of how your health impacts on your daily life, especially if you find the impact of HIV changes from day to day or week to week. This will help you respond to the questions asked in assessments.
  • Always check that any information you are using is up to date as benefits are changing fast.

What am I eligible for?

Understanding which benefit you can apply for in which circumstances can be confusing and THT Direct can put you in touch with a local advice service who can offer you advice in relation to your individual situation.

However a good overview of many of the benefits available can be found at the Citizens Advice Bureau Website.

Help online

You might find some helpful discussions going on in the Community forums.

  • www.directgov.uk - the Government site which explains benefits and entitlement and is a good place to start.
  • www.turn2us.org.uk - has a useful benefits entitlement checker online.
  • www.adviceguide.org.uk - is the national website for Citizens Advice Bureau, who are often the best local source of information on benefits generally. However, in some areas of the country they may not be experienced with HIV.
  • www.disabilityalliance.org - is the main source of benefits information relating to disability.
  • www.nat.org.uk - also has details of the latest developments in benefits as they relate to people with HIV.
  • http://benefits.tcell.org.uk/ - is a website run by and for people with HIV, with a lot of benefits-related information and tips. It has message boards where people can compare their experiences and get advice from people who’ve been through the assessments and interviews themselves.

Your local HIV organisation may also have benefits advice online.

More on this...

 

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2 comments

  • Is there anyone who can help without the stigma of being GAY, LIVING WITH HIV,DEPRESSION,EMPLOYMENT LAW,ENCAPHILTUS and you dont have to keep repeating and repeating and repeating yourself the same old story over and over again. Is there community support that at least understands all of the above and realsizes that all of the above and more causes the person even further into a depression even to idealist tendancies and could push people over the edge and this automated machine in itself is annoying to people who are dealing with the above because maybe just maybe a person behind the voice can understand but a machine is just progranmmed.

    Posted 13:15 Mon 16 Jul 2012 by seankevin
  • You can contact THT Direct on 0808 802 1221 to speak to someone about getting advice and support. Depending on where you are in the country, we may be able to see you at one of our offices - if you're not near one of our centres, the online support is also available.
    The Community Forums (in the My Account section) provide a space for people with HIV to share their experience and solutions as well, which might be useful, as you'll be speaking directly to others who may have had the same or similar issues.

    Posted 12:15 Tue 17 Jul 2012 by garry brough

The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 31/5/2013 by J. Walters

Date due for the next review: 31/1/2014

Content Author: J. Band

Current Owner: J. Band

More information:

Disability Rights Handbook 35th Edition April 2010-April 2011

Chapter 9 Employment & Support Allowance

Introduction how to claim page 44-46

Work focus interviews page 47-48

Work capability assessment page 49-59

Work-related activity group page 44

Support group page 44

Contributory ESA page 59-64

Income related ESA page 64-66

Chapter 20 Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit

Housing Benefit page 106-115

Council Tax Benefit page 121-124

Chapter 25 Housing costs

Income related ESA housing costs and income-based JSA housing costs page 136-139

Chapter 15 Jobseekers Allowance

JSA general conditions and how to claim page 79-84

Contribution based JSA page 85-86

Income-based JSA page 87-88

Child Poverty Action Group Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits 2010/2011

Chapter 7 Employment & Support Allowance

Introduction and how to claim page 141-148 154-156

The assessment phase page 149

Income related ESA page 150

Contributory ESA page 149

Support component page 151-152

Work-related activity component page 152-153

Work capability assessment page 163-169

Revision-appeal page169-172

Chapter 10 Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit

Housing benefit and discretionary housing payments page 206-219

Chapter 5 Council Tax Benefit page 80 -98

Chapter 34 Housing costs page 818-851

Chapter 15 Jobseekers Allowance

Who can claim page 351-352