Being HIV positive can take a toll on one’s health as well as ability to work. This is why we aim to explore through this blog post whether you can claim benefits if you have HIV. For this, we will discuss the eligibility criteria for benefits that HIV patients can claim and the payments that they can expect to receive; depending on the severity of their condition.

Can You Claim Benefits If You Have HIV?

Yes, you can certain claim benefits if you have HIV. HIV patients who have been claiming benefits before their diagnosis may also be able to claim additional amounts due to the following factors:

  • poor health
  • limited ability to work
  • loss of work
  • low income
  • increased living or health costs 

If an individual has contracted HIV as a result of treatment with NHS blood, they can claim a lump sum amount of £80,500 from the NHS under the England Infected Blood Support Scheme. The amount that they can claim can either be paid as a lump sum payment or be split into regular payments of £29,569 a year.

Being HIV positive does not make the patient eligible for benefits automatically. Depending on the impact of their health condition on their ability to perform everyday tasks at work and home, the increase in health and living costs as well as a fall in income due to poor health and reduced working hours determine the extent to which HIV patients. 

If the claimant is an EEA citizen living in the UK, they must clear the “habitual residence test” before they can apply for a benefit claim. 

Since HIV is classed as a disability as per the Equality Act 2010, if an HIV patient is claiming any of the following benefits, they will be eligible for a disability premium that can be added to their claims for:

  • Income Support
  • (income-based) Jobseeker’s Allowance JSA
  • (income-related) Employment and Support Allowance ESA
  • Housing Benefit

What Benefits Can You Claim If You Have HIV?

The benefits that you can claim if you have HIV will depend on the following factors: 

  • your circumstances 
  • the severity of your condition
  • impact of your health condition on your ability to work 

For instance, if someone has to reduce their working hours due to their condition or stop working altogether as a result of HIV, they can claim the following benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions:

  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment

Meanwhile, in some cases HIV patients may also be able to claim these additional benefits:

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance

They can also claim Statutory SIck Pay for 28 weeks from their employer if they have a job and their health conditions restrict their ability to perform optimally at the workplace.

As Universal Credit is replacing most means-tested benefits, anyone looking to file a fresh claim for the six “legacy benefits” will need to apply for Universal Credit. These include the following:

  • Income Support 
  • Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Working Tax Credit 
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

Even though the purpose of Universal Credit is to provide financial support to individuals who are on a low income, most claimants are required to work (even if it is part-time) or look for work while they claim the benefit. 

However, in the case of HIV patients, their lack of ability to work is taken into consideration and their Claimant Commitment mentions their limited capability for work or work-related activity. 

In fact, in certain cases (especially when the patient’s condition is severe and they have been assigned 12 months to live by a medical practitioner) the claimant will get extra amounts added to their basic Universal Credit claim.

How Do You Claim ESA If You Have HIV?

You can contact your Job Centre or apply online to claim Employment and Support Allowance. Alternatively, you can contact the Jobcentre new claims helpline using the following means:

  • Telephone: 0800 055 6688
  • Textphone: 0800 328 1344
  • Relay UK: 18001 then 0800 055 6688

However, you should first meet the eligibility criteria for ESA; which include the following:

  • you are under the State Pension age
  • your health condition affects how much you can work
  • you have been employed or self-employed in the past(you can be unemployed at the time of filing the claim)
  • you have made the required amount of National Insurance contributions
  • you are not claiming SSP or your payments have run out
  • you are not receiving benefits payments through Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • you work less than 16 hours per week 
  • your earnings are not more than £152 a week

How Do You Claim PIP If You Have HIV?

You can claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) by contacting the Disability Service Centre or calling them on 0800 917 2222. 

To be eligible for PIP, you should be able to meet these conditions:

  • aged 16 years or above and under State Pension age 
  • having a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability
  • facing difficulty doing certain routine tasks or moving around
  • the difficulties are expected to last for at least 12 months from the day they started

How Do You Claim SSP If You Have HIV?

If you have HIV and it prevents you from performing job-related tasks efficiently (or you are unable to perform them at all), you can claim Statutory Sick Pay by filing a request with your employer. They will first check your eligibility for the claim based on the following criteria:

  • you are classed as an employee (and not a worker) and have performed work-related tasks for your employer
  • your average weekly earnings are at least £123 per week
  • you have been sick for a minimum of 4 consecutive days (this includes non-working days)

How Much Can You Claim With Benefits If You Have HIV?

The amount that you can claim with benefits if you have HIV will depend on how your claim is assessed by the DWP along with the medical evidence you provide in support of your claim.

For instance, the amount that you can claim through ESA will depend on your age, your condition and your ability to return to the workforce. Therefore, you can expect a weekly payment of up to £77.00 if you’re in the work-related activity group and up to £117.60 per week if you’re in the support group.

In the case of Personal Independence Payment, the amount that you receive will be based on your condition. You can expect to be paid according to the following details;

  • if you are claiming the Daily Living Part, you will be paid between £61.85 and £92.40
  • if you are claiming Mobility Part, you will get between £24.45 and £64.50

Once your claim is assessed and approved, payments will be made every 4 weeks. 

When it comes to Statutory Sick Pay, you will be able to claim £99.35 a week for up to 28 weeks; if you meet the eligibility criteria and inform your employer according to the deadline set by them. 

This is the minimum amount that employers must pay their employees if they qualify for SSP. Any amount below this will not be acceptable. On the other hand, some employees choose to pay a higher amount; which they can do at their discretion.

Conclusion:

The discussion in this article has helped to conclude that individuals suffering from HIV can primarily claim ESA and PIP as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. If they are employed, they may also be able to claim SSP from their employer. However, the ability to claim any other benefits will depend on the claimant’s circumstances and ability to qualify for them.

FAQs: Can You Claim Benefits If You Have HIV?

Does HIV count as a disability?

Yes, HIV counts as a disability in the UK. According to the Equality Act 2010, HIV falls under the “protected characteristics” classification which renders patients as disabled irrespective of their health status.  

How much money do you get on disability?

The amount of money that you can get with a disability will depend on the severity of your condition. The lowest care component in such cases is £24.45, the middle one is £61.85, while the highest care component can get you payments of £92.40 per week.

What conditions qualify for disability?

Conditions that qualify an individual for disability include a physical or mental impairment and how their condition prevents them from performing routine tasks without support.

What conditions automatically qualify you for PIP?

Conditions that automatically qualify you for PIP are:

  • you are over 16 years of age
  • you have a long-term disability, physical or mental health condition
  • your disability or health condition prevents you from performing everyday tasks or moving around

Do you have to disclose you have HIV?

No, you do not have to disclose that you have HIV as there is no legal obligation to do so. It is only in the case of frontline jobs such as in the armed forces or working in a healthcare role that HIV patients are required to disclose their condition.

References:

People infected with HIV | NHSBSA

Benefits | Terrence Higgins Trust

Living with HIV and AIDS

Disability premiums: Eligibility – GOV.UK

Health conditions, disability and Universal Credit – GOV.UK

Employment and Support Allowance & the Work Capability Assessment

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