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Parent with ME - need help with taxes/benefits?

Hi all, hope you're doing ok! :) My mum's getting into her 40s and has had a fairly sudden development of ME and has had to stop working because of it. She's been mentioning PIP and I've been looking into it and it sounds like our next step. I'm starting to figure out what I need to get her to do to apply but had a, hopefully, super simple question about how tax works on this. If she's already got to the end of her personal allowance will the PIP payments be taxable as income? I've tried to work it out with this tax calculator but I don't think I'm on the right train of thought so was hoping someone here could confirm.

Also - are there some good online communities/places she can go for general living with ME support? I think this would really help her because I can't be there all the time.

Thank you!! :)
Hi there. Sorry to hear about your mother. Depending on her circumstances your mum may actually be entitled to two benefits. PIP and ESA. PIP is non means tested, meaning it doesn't matter how much savings or income you already have, it's purely on how disabled you are. Well that's the theory anyway. So I really don't think it will count as taxable income. ESA is means tested and if your mum has any kind of pension or savings over £6000 then the amount she gets will be affected. If she has savings over £16000 (if only right;)) then she's not eligible for ESA.

The best place to find out for sure is on the benefits and work website. Just type that phrase in google and the site will come up in the list. It's a site dedicated to helping people through the complex maze of claiming benefits and your question will surely be answered there. It requires a paid susbscription to access some areas of the site but believe me, it will probably be worth it if you do decide to claim. Unfortunately, benefits are becoming increasingly harder to get despite the obvious disabilities and difficulties that stop many people like your mum from working.

It sounds like your mum has been officially diagnosed? If she hasn't, please arrange for her GP to get her sent to the nearest ME clinic pronto. She will need medical evidence in order to successfully apply for any of the benefits she may be entitled to.

Despite the fact it's taken someone a while to answer your question, this is a pretty good site for online support. Many of the other threads are busier than this one. But in the short term you may want to direct her to official advocate sites like ME association or Action for ME.

Good luck to you both.


Senior Member
PIP is definitely not means-tested, and is also a 'passporting' benefit (for instance, on higher-rate mobility it entitles you to a Blue Badge, free road tax, a disabled bus pass, and use of the Motability scheme). If your Mum's planning to apply, I'd strongly advise getting some help from a welfare organisation such as Benefits & Work or Fightback4Justice. It'll give her a much, much better chance of success.

ESA and Universal Credit is a bit of a minefield, specially for those with no experience of the benefits system. I don't know much about UC, as I'm not on it yet, but I think – as with ESA – that there's a contribution-based element as well as a means-tested one.

Means-tested benefits are fairly easy to understand, but if your Mum has been in work and paying NI for the last couple of years, she may also qualify for payments that are not means tested or limited by having savings (it's especially helpful if she has a partner who's earning). I was on it for the first couple of years after having to give up work, and whilst it is taxable and doesn't entitle you to things like free prescriptions, it can help you keep your bills paid whilst you readjust to the loss of a salary.

Good luck!