Incapacity benefit is a contributory benefit awarded to people who are sick or disabled and thus unable to work. In most cases whether or not you qualify will depend on the amount of national insurance contributions that have been paid and on whether or not you are deemed to be "incapable of work."
In order to qualify for Incapacity Benefit you:
must be incapable of work or be treated as if you are incapable of work and;
be in a "period of incapacity for work" and;
cannot get statutory sick pay and;
are under state pension age (currently 60 for women and 65 for men).
You will also need to demonstrate at least one of the following:
that you satisfy both of the national insurance contribution conditions; or
that your incapacity for work began before you were twenty (or twenty five in some circumstances) or;
you are able to claim under the special rules for men and women who were widowed before April 9th 2001.
For most people the usual "route" to incapacity benefit is following a 28 week period on statutory sick pay.Self -employed people should be able to claim short term IB for the first 28 weeks (see below).
In November 2008 incapacity benefit will be replaced by Employment and Support Allowance.
Incapacity benefit is paid at different rates depending on how long the claimant has been incapable of work. You may also be entitled to an adult dependant's addition
Incapacity benefit weekly rates of pay.
Amount for claimant Amount for adult dependant
Short-term 1-28 weeks £68.95 £37.90
Short-term 29-52 weeks £81.60 £37.90
Long term, over 52 weeks. £91.40 £50.55
The long-term rate is paid from 28 weeks if the claimant is either terminally ill or in receipt of the high rate care component of Disability Living Allowance.