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British Lung Foundation
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What support can my stepfather-n-law get?

Hi, I'm new here.

My stepfather-in-law has severe COPD and I'm trying to gain as much info for them as possible.

They have been recently seen by occupational health and been told about some of the things they can have (wheelchair, stairlift, etc). They are in receipt of benefits (income support...don't know what others, mother-in-law is named carer of stepfather-in-law...not sure if she is claiming a carer's allowance). Are there any other benefits we could be looking at?

Also, to get an emergency alarm, they need a plug socket and telephone line socket next to each other. This currently is not the situation, so will need the telephone line moving....can they claim for this as they are in receipt of benefits? And if so, who do they contact (i.e. social welfare?).

Thanks for your help

15 Replies

Lots of questions within a question, and it sounds like you, or someone, could do to speak with someone in the adult contact team of the local council. They can advise on things like an alarm call system, as they are often the ones who run them.

Occupational Health are part of this area, within social services of the council, so they should be signposting the need to their colleagues.

For benefits it's a case of ask around, Citizens Advice are a good start, but also try DIAL - scope.org.uk/dial - or Age UK - ageuk.org.uk/

There's also the BLF helpline as well, 03000 030 555 Mon-Fri, they'll normally take some details and arrange a call back.


Thanks very much for your reply Gordon.

Yes, there are many questions! Trying to get my head around this - emotionally and practically. My stepfather-in-law has only recently been told how severe his COPD is, and we're all trying to do what is best, trying to support each other and ourselves.

Anyway, thanks again for your answer. I will start to contact the organisations you have mentioned. I feel that there may well be a lot of questions and assertive needed when contacting some groups - I get the feeling that my in-laws haven't been given the full picture of what they are entitled to.


There isn't a quick checklist of that support or benefits any one person would get as there are so many variables involved. What one person gets in one area may not be available in another.

By getting some support from an organisation that's used to dealing with situations like this, you stand a good chance of finding out just what can be done for your stepfather-in-law.

By all means talk to the occupational health people and see what further advice they can give, and make sure they are passing his details on to other departments.

You don't mention his age, or if he drives, but there are things like a bus pass or the blue badge to consider too.

Just to advise on the telephone line, it would be easier to get someone to put a power extension near to the existing socket than get the phone socket moved. You'll find that you can't just move it yourselves, BT go mad!

I was trained, about 30 years ago now, on telephone networks and know only too well what can happen if a socket is tampered with and not put back properly. For those that 'know' how to do it it is quite simple, but don't get "Uncle Joe" round because he thinks he can sort it out.

I doubt there would be any sort of grant for this type of work, but putting a mains socket in may be part of what occupational health can organise, more so if your stepfather-in-law is in council accommodation.


for the phone thing get a set of 2 phones, one linked direct to the phone line, the other plugs in anywhere, would that work?


A call to the BLF helpline regarding benefits and also Age UK as Gordon has already recommended. I think the telephone company will be the ones to contact regarding an additional telephone socket and the council handy man service should be able to install an additional mains socket, but check with Age UK etc to see what other options are available to you.

All good wishes


Just to add to the advice already given - ask your local Social Services department for an assessment for your father-in-law. This should identify areas where help is needed and they can either then supply that help or refer on to agencies that can. They can also help with some benefits advice and most will assist with filling in the relevant forms.


Hi Gimmecake

i am sorry to read of the difficulties you have all been experiencing.

If you can call us on 03000 030 555 we can talk though any benefits and support which may be available.

Best Wishes



Wow! Thanks everyone for your really helpful replies :)

I'm going to pass this information on to my in-laws too. As they are in receipt of benefits, they know which ones they are already on better than me! Of course, I'll do it on their behalf with the info given to me, if it's all too much for them.

Gordon - good point about transport, that hadn't occurred to me! He doesn't drive but a bus pass could be handy, if he's entitled to it! He doesn't drive. Not sure excat;y on his age, but he's around 55.

Concerning the phone line, there isn't any thought of anyone other than a trained BT engineer fitting a new phone line! We wouldn't get anyone else to do it (well, anyone who isn't trained and approved to do such work). After speaking to my in-laws, it seems that the line socket needs to be moved anyway for installing a stairlift.

They recently had a meeting with occupational health this week (Tueday). I couldn't attend, but my partner and his brothers did. I'll ask later if she mentioned much about benefits. I know that she has already spoken to the GP, so pleased to hear that she's putting the wheels in motion already.

amagran - thanks for the suggestion, but I don't think that would work. They have been told that there has to be a telephone socket and power point next to each other for this alarm. But as I've already said, seems that the telephone socket needs to be moved now anyway.

Auntymary - When you say an assessment on my stepfather-in-law, do you mean by occupational health? If so, this has already been done.

Zoee and JoNewton - Thanks, I'm going to advise my in-laws to phone BLF as they will know all the relevant information that will be needed to advise them. I'm happy to do it, but i'm sure I'll be asked a question which I don't know the answer to! I've also ordered some leaflets from the BLF website.

Thanks again for all your help


Grr....forgot to change all the typos! So, sorry about the mistakes!


Funnily enough, one of my recent job applications is to work in the department at the council where they handle the alarm calls.

My Mum had to have one fitted, and the device has to plug into a phone socket and have a power supply, to plug the gadget in, near to it. It was triggered by a pendant she carried with her, as well as a couple of other things like a pull cord in the bathroom.

I have a feeling that Mum had a whole new line put in, so the alarm call system was not affected by the house phone being left off the hook or anything.

If the existing socket needs moving for the stair lift then it makes sense to have it shifted to somewhere more convenient. It is only the master socket that BT have to move, as long as internal extensions have been done properly then they can be moved, or installed, by anyone competent.

Bus Passes are automatically qualified for upon reaching pensionable age, or can be applied for on disability grounds via the local council. The council or local travel information office should be able to tell you more.

Even if he does not drive, a blue badge would allow him to travel with someone and use the badge to park.


Gordon, you are a star! Hadn't thought about the blue badge being able to be used by others if he is in the car....that is something that really would come in useful! Thank you!

I'm not sure what alarm system they are having installed, I'm guessing one similar to the one your mum has. Makes sense really that they would need an extra phone line, rather than relocating the old one (although it looks like that will have to be moved, for reasons mentioned already). I'm pretty sure that they only have the one socket, i.e. a master socket in their home. We'll investigate this!

Thanks again


Blue Badge - be prepared for the hassle of trying. The rules changed this year and most people now have to go for an assessment, unless they get the higher rate of DLA or are registered blind or a couple of other conditions that qualify automatically.

My application took three months - the diary is at blf.healthunlocked.com/blog...

You have to make sure that all the details are given as to what's wrong with your stepfather-in-law that he needs a blue badge. Check the info at direct.gov.uk/en/disabledpe... and then apply at direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPe...


Thanks again. After you mentioning the blue badge before, I went and had a look on the direct.gov site. Yes, I'm prepared for lots of hassle for trying to get anything really. My mother-in-law told me the other night that he is should be on the higher level of mobility state....I think that means the higher rate of the DLA, but I'll double check.


The wording is that the applicant must receiving the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance.

If he is then the application is straightforward as issue would be automatic. 'should be' isn't quite the same though, you have to show proof of the allowance and that it is current.


He is on higher rate of mobility, lower rate on care. So should be no problem to claim a blue badge....in theory!

Taking some time for me to get my head around all these benefits, terms, etc!

Thanks again for your help


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