is osteoarthritis a disability uk
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Is osteoarthritis a disability (UK)? Your full guide

6 min read |

Is osteoarthritis a disability in the UK? If you are living with this debilitating, painful condition, you’ll need to know.

Dealing with osteoarthritis can seriously impact a person's life, as many with the condition face severe pain, mobility issues and other challenging symptoms.

Once you know if osteoarthritis is classed as a disability, you can get clarity on the support available to you.

This article will answer ‘Is osteoarthritis a disability?’ and the different types of benefits you can receive.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • There are many types of arthritic conditions, but knowing what counts as a disability can be confusing.
  • If you have osteoarthritis, you may qualify for financial benefits or other support. 
  • This is not because of the condition itself, but due to the ways it impacts your day-to-day life. 
  • If you’re living with osteoarthritis, maintaining a balanced lifestyle and seeking professional help you manage the condition. 
is osteoarthritis a disability uk

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis, and a type of degenerative joint disease. 

It causes tissues and cartilage to break down over time, which results in inflammation around the joints.

This wear-and-tear causes joint pain and stiffness, which can leave people unable to be physically active.

The condition can be persistent or flare up randomly, and symptoms may present differently for each person.

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Who gets osteoarthritis?

Older people, especially women, are often affected by osteoarthritis, as age is one of the biggest risk factors. 

This is because the cartilage around the joints gets damaged over time due to everyday movements.

However, that is not to say that developing osteoarthritis is an inevitable part of ageing.

Other factors, such as obesity and previous joint injuries, can increase the chances of getting osteoarthritis.

arthritic pain

What are the long-term effects of osteoarthritis?

If you or a loved one have osteoarthritis, you’ll know it’s a painful condition, often managed by painkillers and lifestyle changes.

Coping with chronic pain can take a serious toll on your mental well-being, especially when it impacts your regular activities.

Unfortunately, osteoarthritis can’t be cured, but there are lots of ways to look after yourself or a loved one living with the condition.

Talk to your GP to get advice and support on the help available for the long-term effects of osteoarthritis.

Is osteoarthritis a disability?

Osteoarthritis isn’t automatically classed as a disability in the UK, each individual case has to be assessed. 

When you take your case to the authorities, they will look at whether it meets the regulations and requirements of the Equality Act 2010

If your arthritis has a substantial or long-term impact on your daily life, it could be considered a disability in the UK.

Therefore, if you have osteoarthritis and are struggling to manage it, it’s a good idea to explore whether you qualify for disability support and benefits.

managing bone pain

Can I get disability benefits for osteoarthritis?

There are no financial benefits for elderly people that you are automatically entitled to if you have osteoarthritis. 

Disability benefits are based on what you can and can’t do rather than the condition that causes them.

But if having osteoarthritis hinders your daily lifestyle, then you could be entitled to certain disability benefits. 

So, you’ll need to explain your specific mobility problems and their impact on your life rather than just state your diagnosis.

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment or PIP can support you if you have daily living or mobility issues due to your disability. 

You can claim a lower or higher weekly PIP rate of payment depending on your assessed needs and circumstances. 

You’ll be assessed on the severity of your condition and get your PIP rates based on the points that you score.

So it’s important to be honest and realistic about how your osteoarthritis affects your daily living and mobility needs. 

Employment and Support Allowance ESA

The Employment and Support Allowance can support you financially if you are unable to work or to help you return to work.

You can apply if you’re employed or self-employed or have had National Insurance contributions if you are not working. 

However, you cannot claim if you receive Universal Credit or Statutory Sick Pay, so it is a good idea to check the criteria.

scan for arthritis

Universal Credit

If you have a disability, and your osteoarthritis is stopping you from working, then you could claim Universal Credit.

To be eligible, you have to be a UK resident, be under state pension age, and have £16,000 or less in savings.

You can apply and claim for Universal Credit if you get other state or disability benefits, so there is more flexibility. 

Universal credit may stop or be limited if you are of state pension age, however, you could claim on behalf of someone else.

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Is there other support available?

Even if you can’t claim benefits due to your condition, there are many other places to look for support with daily living. 

Blue Badge Permit

If you have a disability, you can get a blue badge that gives you priority parking when you’re out and about. 

It’s a type of parking permit for people with mobility issues, and you are automatically eligible if you receive PIP. 

If osteoarthritis causes you mobility issues, then a blue badge can help you access places more easily. 

It only costs £10, so find out how to complete a blue badge application now.

managing symptoms of arthritis

Vehicle tax exemption

You can also apply for vehicle tax exemption if you qualify for PIP or other allowances such as adult or child disability payments. 

To claim, the vehicle must be registered in the name of the person who is disabled or their routine driver. 

The exemption can only be for the person’s personal needs and not for the driver’s personal use. 

If you qualify for the mobility component of PIP, you can get a 50% tax reduction, which you can claim at the post office. 

Osteoarthritis and planning for the future

If you have osteoarthritis, you may be worried about the future and what it might look like with the condition. 

But there’s no need for concern, as with the right medication and physiotherapy, arthritis can be managed effectively. 

Although there is currently no cure for osteoarthritis, this doesn’t mean you can’t live a fulfilled and active life.

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Need help finding care?

Need help finding care?

With lots of care options out there, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. 

Your loved one might have specific needs, and finding a match can be challenging.

However, with Sweet Pea finding home care has never been so easy, with everything in one place.

Use our online platform today to make your care request and find the care you need.