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Welfare benefits

For a stammer which affects work or study, an Access to Work or student grant may be available for an electronic fluency device. Apart from that, a stammer alone is not likely to entitle a person to benefits, except where symptoms are very severe. This section of the website outlines how a stammer may affect entitlement to welfare benefits.

Introduction

Have I heard of anyone receiving benefits on the basis of a stammer?

Yes in relation to:
Access to Work grant
Disabled Students' Allowances
Personal Capability Assessment; and
DLA lower rate mobility component.
However each case depends on its facts.

I also know of someone who was awarded severe disablement allowance, but this is no longer available for new claimants.

This section of the website looks in general terms at how stammering can affect your entitlement to welfare benefits. This is not disability discrimination law, but it ties in with the difficulty people who stammer sometimes find getting and keeping a job.

Of course a person who stammers can claim benefits (eg jobseekers allowance, working tax credit) under the normal rules. However, this section of the site focuses on how far a stammer may be relevant.

I do not usually go into detail, but you can get further information from the sources listed. See also the disclaimer. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has claimed allowances on the basis of stammering (allan@atyrer.net).

Paying for fluency devices

Access to Work and Disabled Students Allowances are not exactly social security benefits. However, they can be helpful in paying for fluency devices which help some people who stammer. They are particularly important because, unlike other disability benefits (see below) they are available to people with quite a 'normal' level of stammering - it does not have to be particularly severe. See further Paying for fluency devices.

Employment and support allowance

Employment and support allowance (ESA) has replaced incapacity benefit. For new claimants, ESA is not likely to be available for stammering as such. From March 2011, even someone who cannot speak at all cannot claim ESA if they can still communicate by writing. A person with very severe social phobia might still qualify for ESA, or if there would be a substantial risk to mental health from having to work or look for work. More: Employment and Support Allowance.

Jobseekers allowance

Jobseekers allowance is the main 'out of work' benefit for people not entitled to something different. With the present test for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - see above - even a very severe stammer is not likely to entitle a person to ESA, so in the absence of other disabilities they will go onto Jobseekers Allowance. More: Jobseekers allowance.

Another possible alternative to Jobseekers Allowance is income support for eg. some single parents.

Disability premium

Claimants with a very severe stammer who meet the pre-2008 'incapacity for work' test may still be entitled to the disability premium, even where claims are put in now. Any 'cluttering' combined with the stammer may also be relevant, as a key test is whether speech can be understood and cluttering particularly affects that. Disablity premium may increase other benefits such as housing benefit, and possibly income-based Jobseekers allowance. See: Disability premium.

Housing benefit and council tax benefit

These help with rent and council tax. They can be increased by the disability premium as outlined above. See Housing benefit.

Personal independence payment

From 10th June 2013, the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for new claimants aged 16-64. Attendance allowance may apply to those over 65. Stammering in itself should not normally give an entitlement to PIP. More Personal independence payment.

As regards new claimants, DLA is only relevant for those under 16. More: Disability Living Allowance.

Statutory sick pay

This can be payable for up to 28 weeks of absence from work where you are incapable of doing the job you are employed to do because of sickness or disability for at least 4 days in a row. Statutory sick pay (link to direct.gov.uk).

SSP is not normally thought of in connection with stammering, but it seems it could apply where the stammer goes through a really severe patch or generally deteriorates.

Working tax credit, including disability element

Working tax credit is often payable whether or not one has a disability. However, a person with a very severe stammer may be entitled to an additional 'disability element' if they are, or were recently, claiming another disability benefit. More: Working Tax Credit.

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Last updated 31st July, 2011 (part update 13th June 2013)