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Incapacity Benefit - introduction

If you couldn’t work because of illness or disability before 31 January 2011, you may be receiving Incapacity Benefit. Since 31 January 2011 no new Incapacity Benefit claims have been accepted. You should claim Employment and Support Allowance instead.

Changes to benefits if you are ill or disabled

From the 31 January 2011 people can no longer make new claims for Incapacity Benefit. You should claim Employment and Support Allowance instead.

Changes for people already claiming incapacity benefits

Your claim will be reviewed if you are getting one of the following benefits:

  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support paid because of an illness or disability
  • Severe Disablement Allowance

Until your claim is reviewed you will continue to get your current benefit, as long as you still meet the conditions for that benefit.

This change will not affect you if you:

  • claim Employment and Support Allowance already
  • are due to reach State Pension age before 6 April 2014
  • are already over State Pension age and get Severe Disablement Allowance

Customers who reach State Pension age between 6 April 2014 and the end of September 2014 will only be exempt if they commence reassessment after 31 December 2013.

Use the following link to find out more about how your claim will be reviewed.

How it works

Incapacity Benefit is paid at three weekly rates:

  • short-term (lower) IB is paid for the first 28 weeks
  • short-term (higher) IB is paid from weeks 29 to 52
  • long-term IB is paid from week 53

How much do you get?

Current weekly amounts

Weekly rate Amount Amount if you're over State Pension age
short-term (lower rate) £78.50 £99.90
short-term (higher rate) £92.95 £104.10
long-term basic rate £104.10 You're not eligible for long-term basic rate IB

You may be able to get an 'age addition' with your long-term Incapacity Benefit if you were under 45 when you became too ill or disabled to work.

You may be able to get extra benefit for your spouse or civil partner or the person who looks after your children.

Pension income rules

If you have a gross pension income of more than £85 a week, the amount of benefit will be reduced by half of the excess.

The excess is the difference between £85 and the actual pension income. For example, for a pension income of £100, the excess is £15. The amount of Incapacity Benefit payable is reduced by half of that, which is £7.50.


This rule does not apply if:

  • you were in receipt of Incapacity Benefit before 6 April 2001
  • your claim is made under the linking rules for Incapacity Benefit and links back to before 6 April 2001
  • you receive the highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance

How it's paid

Incapacity Benefit is paid into your bank, building society, Post Office® or National Savings account that accepts Direct Payment.

Your payment can be sent by cheque and cashed at the Post Office® if:

Working while claiming Incapacity Benefit - 'Permitted Work'

If you're getting Incapacity Benefit you may be able to do some types of work - within limits. This is called 'Permitted Work'. But if you get Incapacity Benefit and a wage, this could affect any income-related benefits you receive, like:

What to do if your circumstances change

It's important you contact Incapacity Benefits Branch if your circumstances change - for example if:

  • you do any work including voluntary work
  • you start training and get a training allowance
  • you change your address
  • you have been in hospital for 52 weeks and part of your benefit is paid for another adult or child
  • you go abroad

For more information, contact Incapacity Benefits Branch.

How to appeal

You can ask the office that dealt with your claim to look at their benefit decision again if:

  • your claim for Incapacity Benefit is refused
  • you have questions about your payment

If you're still unhappy with the outcome, you can appeal.

Tax credits and other support

You may be able to get Child Tax Credit if you're responsible for at least one child. If you're working, and on a low income, you may be able to get Working Tax Credit.

You can order a claim pack over the phone by calling the Tax Credit Helpline.

More useful links