Is cardiomyopathy a disability?
Some people with cardiomyopathy will be considered disabled if their cardiomyopathy has a substantial and long-term negative effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
A disability is defined as:
"a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. This means that they have a significant impairment, which has lasted (or is likely to last) for 12 months and which affects their daily activities."
The Equality Act does not list medical or long-term conditions that are considered disabilities. This is because it looks at the effect of the impairment, and not at the cause of it. To be covered by the Act, the effect of the impairment needs to meet the definition of disability above.
For more about disability and the Equality Act visit these websites: Equality and Human Rights Commission (opens new window) and the GOV website (opens new window).
What benefits are available to me?
You may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you, the person you care for and the type of care you provide meets certain criteria.
You must spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone, including helping with household tasks such as washing and cooking, taking the person you care for to a doctor’s appointment and managing bills and shopping.
A full list of criteria can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance/eligibility
As well as the above, you must meet these standards:
- You are 16 or over
- You spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
- You’ve been in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the last 3 years (this does not apply if you’re a refugee or have humanitarian protection status)
- You normally live in England, Scotland or Wales, or you live abroad as a member of the armed forces (you might still be eligible if you’re moving to or already living in an EEA country or Switzerland)
- You are not in full-time education or studying for 21 hours a week or more
- You’re not subject to immigration control
- Your earnings are £128 or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses
Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
This benefit is for people living with a disability or health condition that affects how much they can work. ESA is awarded to help with living costs if someone is unable to work, and support via Jobcentre Plus to get people back into work if they’re able to work. You can apply if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.
To apply you must be under state pension age (check here to find out what yours is: https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-age), worked as an employee or have been self-employed and paid enough National Insurance contributions, usually in the last 2 to 3 years (National Insurance credits also count).
If your Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is due to end, you can apply for ‘new style’ ESA up to 3 months before your SSP ends. You’ll start getting ‘new style’ ESA as soon as your SSP ends.
What does PIP mean?
PIP stands for Personal Independence Payment.
This is a non-means tested benefit that people can apply for if they have a physical or mental health condition or disability where they have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for 3 months and expect these difficulties to continue for at least 9 months.
How can I find out if i'm eligible?
You have to be over 16 years old to apply for PIP and meet the full eligibility criteria which you can find here: www.gov.uk/pip/eligibility
Having a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy does not entitle you to PIP, you have to be able to show how your condition and any other conditions you might have affect your daily life, and the impact it has upon you physically and emotionally.
The PIP application form will ask you to organise relevant medical letters to support your claim and you will need to use the form to describe how your life is impacted on a daily basis.
Where can I find more information?
Please note that the cardiac support nurses on our helpline are not trained benefits advisors and therefore are unable to advise on financial support and benefits.
Further information can be found on the Citizens Advice website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/ and you can find your local Citizens Advice Bureau here.