How deaf do you have to be to qualify for benefits — Scope | Disability forum

How deaf do you have to be to qualify for benefits

This discussion was created from comments split from: Your benefits questions answered.


  • Helen54
    Helen54 Member Posts: 6
    Hi how deaf do you have to be to qualify for benefits. .thanks 
  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering
    Hi Helen54,

    There are lots of different benefits which could apply here.

    For example, employment and support allowance (ESA) looks at activities which you can or can't do; it's supposed to relate to things you might have to do if you were working. It's a benefit you can get if you are not working (apart from certain 'permitted work', which you are allowed to do on ESA).

    There is an activity in the ESA assessment (the work capability assessment) about understanding communication. If you can't hear or lip read, you may use non-verbal communication such as reading. You are expected to use any aid which you normally use, or you could reasonably be expected to use. 

    So you might get points if you weren't able to understand messages or had difficultly understanding messages, but you'd have to factor in understanding via reading too. You have to get 15 points to get ESA and that would be if you either couldn't understand a simple message at all, or had significant difficulty understanding a message from a stranger, due to sensory impairment. If you cannot hear or lip read then the test would look at how you can communicate non-verbal means alone, eg using 16 point print size.

    Another way to get ESA is if working would be a risk to your health or other people's health - worth considering if you think being deaf might put you or other people at risk in the workplace.

    Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for the extra costs of disability - you can get this in or out of work. It is also a points based benefit. As with ESA there is a communication activity. You need 8 points for the standard rate of the daily living component of PIP, and 12 points for the enhanced rate. If you find it hard to make yourself understood then you might get points here. For this activity, written information doesn't count - it looks at whether you can communicate verbally. So for example, if you need communication support (support from another person, such as a signer) to express or understand basic information, you could get 8 points. If you can't express or understand verbal (spoken) information even with support, you could get 12 points. 

    Finally, there's another benefit called industrial injuries disablement benefit. That would apply if the reason for deafness was an accident in the workplace or an industrial disease. Hearing loss can be an industrial disease, but it depends what occupation caused the hearing loss. The industrial injuries scheme has a percentage assessment of disability - the threshold to get benefit is 14 per cent. In this scheme, absolute deafness is 100 per cent 'degree of disablement', to use the terms of the scheme. But you might get some benefit with anything between 14 and 100%.

    You must have worked in the prescribed occupation for at least 10 years, and make the claim for benefit within 5 years of stopping that occupation. There are lots of occupations but as a guide they mostly involve occupations where you were operating loud machinery.

    If you meet the conditions for industrial injuries disablement benefit, you can get it at the same time as PIP, and, if you are not working (apart from permitted work) ESA.

    Because there are different benefits, all of which look at the effect of deafness in different ways, it's a good idea to ring the Scope helpline to discuss which benefits might apply to your situation - 
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Mary Shone
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • Helen54
    Helen54 Member Posts: 6
    Thankyou. deafness is not bad enough. ...i manage with 2 aids....but hear nothing much without them x
  • Dasiydo
    Dasiydo Member Posts: 93 Courageous
    Well I half deaf too but having problems with volunteering roll as Befriended was told could not have job because of my dyspraxia and half deaf at was making space wose recovery mealth health services
  • stevie boy
    stevie boy Member Posts: 5 Listener


    I,m 62 years old & about 65 - 70% deaf in both ears plus just for my misery I have full time tinnitus. I work full time & life is becoming more of a struggle so wondered what help I could get about working or benefits.


  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @123abc and a very warm welcome to the community! I'm sorry to hear you have been finding work particularly difficult.
    Are you currently getting any support? Here are some articles you might find helpful:
    Also, here is a tool to calculate benefits.
    Please do let us know if there is anything else we can do. :)


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