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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, there’s no need to worry as help is at hand.

We have a team of trained Generalist Advisers who can help you find out your entitlement and how best to manage applications, reviews and appeals. You can access help from us by online live chat, by email or on the phone - whichever suits you.

General advice if you're applying for benefits

  • Get expert advice or do your research before making or changing a claim.
  • Keep copies of all correspondence with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). If you must do something over the phone rather than in writing, make notes of the call and the date. Records and letters seem to go missing very easily.
  • Open and answer all letters from the DWP/JobCentre 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 incorrect 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 28 days of the decision.
  • If your doctor is likely to be asked to give a report on your health it is a good idea to discuss this with them in advance.
  • Keeping a diary of how your health impacts on your daily life will help you to respond to the questions asked in benefits assessments, especially if you find the impact of HIV changes from day to day or week to week.
  • Always check that any information you are using is up-to-date as the rules on benefits change quickly.

I'm living with HIV - which benefits am I eligible for?

Understanding which benefit you can apply for in which circumstances can be confusing and THT Direct can offer you advice in relation to your individual situation.

The Citizens Advice Bureau gives a good overview of many of the benefits available on their website.

Help online

You can access online advice from a qualified Generalist Adviser here on myHIV. You might find some helpful discussions going on in the Community Forums, which is the UK’s largest online community of people living with HIV.

Other organisations that may be able to help you include:

  • www.directgov.uk - the Government site which explains benefits and entitlement is a good place to start.
  • www.turn2us.org.uk - a useful online benefits entitlement checker.
  • www.adviceguide.org.uk - the national website for the Citizens Advice Bureau, who are often the best local source of information on benefits. However, in some areas of the country they may not be experienced with HIV.
  • www.disabilityalliance.org - the main source of benefits information relating to disability.
  • www.nat.org.uk - details of the latest developments in benefits as they relate to people with HIV.
  • http://benefits.tcell.org.uk/ - 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 have been through the assessments and interviews themselves.

Your local HIV organisation may also have benefits advice online.

Help on the phone or by email

Our helpline, THT Direct, can give first-line advice on benefits. Email us at info@tht.org.uk - our qualified Generalist Advisors can answer you within two working days.

Our information and advice is accredited by the Information Standard, the Legal Services Commission and The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner.

For in-depth support our advisers will refer you to a local agency or Citizens Advice Bureau.

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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 2/9/2014 by C. Berry

Date due for the next review: 31/3/2015

Content Author: G. Arrindell

Current Owner: D. Anyanwu

More information:

Citizens Advice, Advisernet - Benefits