Financial Help and Benefits
If you are caring for a child with a disability you may be entitled to the following benefits:-
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Extra Disability Elements as part of a Tax Credits claim
Other means tested benefits and entitlements which may be available include:
- Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Benefit, Rate Rebate in Northern Ireland
- Grants or loans from the Social Fund
- Fares to hospital for treatment
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
If your child is 16 or over they may be able to claim ESA as a young disabled adult. However, if they do so any payments of child benefit or child tax credit you receive for them will stop. Because of this you should get advice about whether a claim for ESA is a good idea in your own particular family circumstances. Parents who have health problems may also be able to claim ESA in their own right.
Advice on Benefits
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), welfare rights adviser, or advice agency
Entitlement to the above mentioned benefits is not automatic and will depend on you or your child meeting specific eligibility criteria. The criteria vary from benefit to benefit. Claiming benefits can seem a complicated process but there are people who can help and give you independent advice – for example, your Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) welfare rights adviser or advice agency.
Contact a Family
Contact a Family is a national organisation for families with children affected by any type of disability. They operate a freephone Helpline which can advise on any issue about caring for the disabled child. They also have a welfare rights service for specialist benefits advice. Telephone 0808 808 3555 (freephone). The helpline is open between 9.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday. Helpline advisers can arrange an interpreter over the telephone if needed. Alternatively you can e.mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disability Alliance produces the Disability Handbook, an all purpose rights guide for people with disabilities and their families called Disability Rights Handbook. This is updated yearly. Disability Alliance, Universal House, 88-94 Wentworth Street, London, E1 7SA. Telephone 020 7247 8776 Voice and textphone – please note that this is not an advice line.
The Benefit Enquiry Line (BEL)
The Benefit Enquiry Line (BEL) offers advice on benefits for disabled people and carers. BEL cannot look at your personal records and can only give general information and advice. Tel 0800 882200, Mon-Fri 8.30am – 6.30pm and Saturday 9am – 1pm. In Northern Ireland 0800 220674. Textphone 0800 243355. The Benefit Enquiry Line also provides a service to people whose first language is not English.
Other practical sources of help
Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG's)
Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG's) for help with adapting your home to make this more suitable. A DFG to meet the need of a disabled child is not means tested. In Scotland families can apply for a Scheme of Assistance grant from their council.
The Family Fund
The Family Fund is a grant giving charity financed by the government. They give grants for things that make life easier and more enjoyable for the disabled child, young person and their family, such as washing machines, driving lessons, computers and holidays. From 16th August 2010 the Family Fund will consider a grant application where a family's total income from all sources, including net income and benefits, is below £28,000. For more information Telephone 0845 130 4542 or 01904 621115. Textphone 01904 658085.
Contact a Family
Contact a Family’s freephone helpline can provide further information and advice on all of the above and other entitlements, including a list of other grant giving charities. Telephone 0808 808 3555. Further information is also available on Contact a Family’s website http://www.cafamily.org.uk including a number of free guides such as benefits, tax credits and other financial help. Money when your child turns 16 and help with council tax bills, which includes information about the disability reduction and discount schemes.