Benefits in hospital

This resource outlines how a stay in hospital can affect your benefit entitlement. We explain “what is a day in hospital”, detail which benefits are affected by a stay in hospital and list those which are not.

Contents

What is a day in hospital?

Benefits not affected by a stay in hospital

Benefits with some effect when you stay in hospital

Council tax support

Industrial injuries benefits

Severe disablement allowance

Child disability payment

War pensions

Working tax credit (WTC)

Other benefits

Attendance allowance

Carer’s allowance

Child benefit

Disability living allowance

Guardian’s allowance

Housing benefit

Income support

New style employment and support allowance

New style job seeker’s allowance

Pension credit

Personal independence payment and adult disability payment

Universal credit

More help or information

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What is a day in hospital?

For personal independence payment, adult disability payment, disability living allowance, child disability payment and attendance allowance, both the day you are admitted and the day you are discharged count as days out of hospital.

For all other benefits, the day you are admitted is treated as a day out of hospital and the day you are discharged is treated as a day in hospital.

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Benefits not affected by a stay in hospital

  • armed forces independence payment
  • bereavement support payment
  • child tax credit
  • maternity allowance
  • state pension 
  • statutory adoption pay
  • statutory maternity pay
  • statutory paternity pay
  • statutory shared parental pay
  • statutory parental bereavement pay
  • statutory sick pay
  • widowed parents allowance

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Benefits with some effect when you stay in hospital

Council tax support

Check with your local council.

 

Industrial injuries benefits

Not affected apart from constant attendance allowance, which stops after four weeks.

 

Severe disablement allowance

Continues as long as you continue to meet the other qualifying conditions.

 

Child disability payment

If your child goes into hospital, child disability payment should continue to be paid indefinitely, as long as your child continues to meet the other qualifying conditions.

 

War pensions

May be increased when you go into hospital, if the treatment is for the war injury. Constant attendance allowance and war pensioners’ severe disablement occupational allowance stop after four weeks.

 

Working tax credit (WTC)

Is only affected if you cease to be treated as employed and therefore no longer qualify for WTC. Inform HM Revenue & Customs of such a change of circumstances to avoid unnecessary underpayment or overpayment.

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Other benefits

Attendance allowance

Both the day you are admitted and the day you are discharged count as days out of hospital.

Attendance allowance stops after a total of four weeks (either in one stay, or several stays, where the gaps between stays are no more than four weeks each time).

If you claim attendance allowance when you are already in hospital, it cannot be paid until you leave.

For further information on attendance allowance, read our attendance allowance factsheet.

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Carer’s allowance

The day you are admitted is treated as a day out of hospital and the day you are discharged is treated as a day in hospital.

If you go into hospital, your carer’s allowance will stop after 12 weeks.

If the person you are caring for goes into hospital, your carer’s allowance will stop when their attendance allowance, disability living allowance or child disability payment care component, or personal independence payment or adult disability payment daily living component stops.

For further information on carer's allowance, read our carer’s allowance factsheet.

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Child benefit

The day you are admitted is treated as a day out of hospital and the day you are discharged is treated as a day in hospital.

Child benefit is paid for the first 12 weeks if your child goes into hospital. After 12 weeks, you can continue to get child benefit only if you are regularly spending money on the child’s behalf (eg on clothing, pocket money, magazines).

If you continue to get child benefit, you will continue to get any child dependant’s addition that may still be payable with other benefits (such as carer's allowance), otherwise this will also end.

If you or your partner are in hospital, child benefit normally continues to be paid.

For further information on child benefit, read the gov.uk child benefit guidance.

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Disability living allowance

Both the day you are admitted and the day you are discharged count as days out of hospital.

adults (aged 18 and over)

Stops after a total of four weeks (either in one stay, or several stays, where the gaps between stays are no more than four weeks each time).

If you claim disability living allowance when you are already in hospital, it cannot be paid until you leave.

children

This is paid for an indefinite period as long as the other qualifying conditions are met. This applies to anyone aged under 18 on the date they were admitted for the current hospital stay.

For further information on disability living allowance, read our disability living allowance factsheet.

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Guardian’s allowance

The day you are admitted is treated as a day out of hospital and the day you are discharged is treated as a day in hospital.

Guardian’s allowance is paid for the first 12 weeks if the child you care for goes into hospital. After 12 weeks, you can continue to get guardian’s allowance only if you are regularly spending money on the child’s behalf (eg on clothing, pocket money, magazines).

For further information on guardian’s allowance, read the gov.uk guidance on guardian’s allowance.

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Housing benefit

The day you are admitted is treated as a day out of hospital and the day you are discharged is treated as a day in hospital.

Housing benefit is paid for up to 52 weeks as long as the other qualifying conditions are met. Certain premiums are affected sooner than this:

  • Your severe disability premium will stop after four weeks if you are in hospital and you lose your attendance allowance, disability living allowance care component, or personal independence payment or adult disability payment daily living component. If you have a partner who is not in hospital and who also qualifies for the severe disability premium, they will continue to get it.
  • Your carer premium will stop 8 weeks after your carer’s allowance stops.

Once you have been in hospital for a continuous period of 52 weeks, if you have no dependants living in your home, you can no longer get housing benefit. If you have dependants or other people living in your home, their right to housing benefit depends on their own circumstances. If you are one of a couple and have been in hospital for 52 weeks, you and your partner are treated as separate claimants.

For further information about housing benefit, read our housing benefit factsheet.

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Income support

The day you are admitted is treated as a day out of hospital and the day you are discharged is treated as a day in hospital.

Income support is paid for an indefinite period as long as the other qualifying conditions are met. Certain premiums and housing costs are affected:

  • Your severe disability premium will stop after four weeks if you are in hospital and you lose your attendance allowance, disability living allowance care component, or personal independence payment or adult disability payment daily living component. If you have a partner who is not in hospital and who also qualifies for the severe disability premium, they will continue to get it.
  • Your carer premium will stop 8 weeks after your carer’s allowance stops.
  • After 52 weeks you will lose the disability premium, enhanced disability premium and higher pensioner premium unless you have a partner who meets the conditions for the premium themselves.
  • Once you have been in hospital for a continuous period of 52 weeks, if you have no dependants living in your home, you can no longer get income support housing costs. If you have dependants or other people living in your home, their right to benefit depends on their own circumstances. If you are one of a couple and have been in hospital for 52 weeks, you and your partner are treated as separate claimants.

Income support can continue to be paid during a temporary absence abroad for the purpose of receiving NHS hospital treatment.

Income support is a ‘legacy benefit’ that has been replaced by universal credit and you will eventually be asked to claim universal credit instead. You may also have to claim universal credit if your circumstances change. For further information on universal credit, read our universal credit guide.

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New-style employment and support allowance

New-style employment and support allowance (ESA) is paid for an indefinite period as long as the other qualifying conditions are met. 

ESA can continue to be paid during a temporary absence abroad for the purpose of receiving NHS hospital treatment.

For further information about new-style ESA, read our new style ESA factsheet.

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New-style job seeker’s allowance

The day you are admitted is treated as a day out of hospital and the day you are discharged is treated as a day in hospital.

You cannot normally claim jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) while you are in hospital because you will not be deemed capable of work or able to meet the work-related conditions.

However, if you are already getting JSA when you go into hospital, you can be treated as being capable of work and the work-related conditions can be relaxed for up to 13 continuous weeks.

When your JSA stops, you may be able to claim employment and support allowance instead.

JSA can continue to be paid during a temporary absence abroad for the purpose of receiving NHS hospital treatment.

For further information about new style JSA, read our new-style JSA factsheet.

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Pension credit

The day you are admitted is treated as a day out of hospital and the day you are discharged is treated as a day in hospital.

Pension credit is paid for an indefinite period as long as the other qualifying conditions are met. Certain additional amounts and housing costs are affected:

  • The additional amount for severe disability will stop after four weeks if you are in hospital and you lose your attendance allowance, disability living allowance care component, personal independence payment daily living component or adult disability payment daily living component. If you have a partner who is not in hospital and who also qualifies for the additional amount for severe disability, they will continue to get it.
  • The additional amount for carers will stop 8 weeks after your carer’s allowance stops.
  • Once you have been in hospital for a continuous period of 52 weeks, if you have no dependants living in your home, you can no longer get pension credit housing costs. If you have dependants or other people living in your home, their right to benefit depends on their own circumstances. If you are one of a couple and have been in hospital for 52 weeks, you and your partner are treated as separate claimants.

For further information about pension credit, read our pension credit factsheet.

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Personal independence payment and adult disability payment

Both the day you are admitted and the day you are discharged count as days out of hospital.

Personal independence payment (PIP) and adult disability payment (ADP) stop after a total of four weeks (either in one stay, or several stays, where the gaps between stays are no more than four weeks each time) if you are aged 18 or over on the date you are admitted to hospital.

This limit does not apply if you are aged under 18 on the date of admission; PIP and ADP can be paid for an indefinite period as long as the other qualifying conditions are met.

If you claim PIP or ADP when you are already in hospital, it cannot be paid until you leave.

For further information about PIP, read our PIP guide.

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Universal credit

If you go into hospital, your universal credit is not affected.

Universal credit will be reduced if your partner goes into hospital for more than six months. You will need to claim as a single person.

If one of your children, or a qualifying young person under 20 you are responsible for, goes into hospital, your award will be reduced if they are in for more than six months.

If the person you are caring for goes into hospital, the carer amount will no longer be included in your universal credit award once you no longer meet the qualifying conditions for carer's allowance.

For further information about universal credit, read our universal credit guide.

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More help or information

Advice

Use advicelocal to get advice in your area.

See also our Getting Advice guidance

Find out more

If you are an adviser see our Disability Rights Handbook

12 April 2023

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Format: 01/03/2024
Format: 01/03/2024
Benefits Health & Social Care