Disability and age-related benefits

We believe that non-means tested disability benefits and age-related 'universal' benefits are crucial for people with Parkinson's.

This policy statement has been developed with advice and guidance from people affected by Parkinson's, health and social care professionals and other experts. 

What we believe 

Disability Living Allowance has enabled me to purchase care needs for myself, such as a cleaner, and having a weekly laundry person.
Elaine, who has Parkinson's

We believe that people with Parkinson's should be able to access a system of non-means tested disability benefits to help meet the costs of living with a long-term condition and to fully participate in society.

We also believe that age-related 'universal' benefits - such as Winter Fuel Payment, free TV licences for over 75s and bus travel concessions - are important in helping older people with Parkinson's maintain their wellbeing and independence. We do not believe that they should be means tested. 

Why we believe this 

Research has shown that living with a disability costs more. One estimate puts it at an additional cost of 25% compared to non-disabled people. Accessing transport, services and leisure opportunities can all create extra costs. For this reason non-means tested disability benefits are extremely important.

Universal benefits can also be invaluable to older people, particularly as the cost of living continues to rise. Means testing these benefits would not necessarily mean they are better targeted.

There are other ways in which system reform might better target, while not undermining, the universal nature of benefits. 

What's the evidence? 

Reforms to Disability Living Allowance have highlighted how much people with Parkinson's value the help that disability benefits bring. The top 3 things that people with Parkinson's use Disability Living Allowance for are:

  • paying bills
  • transport costs
  • support/care around the home

Paying for food, mobility aids and health treatments also feature heavily.

Research has shown significant problems with means testing universal benefits, including stopping people who genuinely need them from claiming, for a variety of reasons such as confusion over the rules.

Full policy statement 

Parkinson's UK policy statement: Disability and age-related benefits (PDF, 250KB)

Two nurses talking together

Want to know more about benefits?

Your diagnosis doesn't necessarily mean you need to stop working or driving, but there may be some extra considerations.

Learn more about your rights