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As a parent/carer of a child with special needs, state benefits are there to enable you to look after your child as well as possible and to help provide your child with the things they need.
Unfortunately, the benefits system can be fairly complicated, and as such we suggest that you get advice before making any major decisions, and do bear in mind that the criteria and amounts payable may change. Several of the organisations below can give advice on benefits, but not all can supply funding. Receiving the correct support and benefits are your right, so don't feel embarrassed.
Some of the key benefits and organisations you should know about include:
Carer's Allowance is a taxable benefit to help people who look after someone who is disabled. You may be able to get Carer's Allowance if you are aged 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a person who gets either:
You might be able to get Carer’s Allowance if all of the following apply:
As at April 2017 -
Carer’s Allowance is £62.70 a week to help you look after someone with substantial caring needs.
Claiming Carer's Allowance may affect any other benefits, allowances, pensions and entitlements you, or the person you care for, are receiving. You may have to pay tax on the amount you receive. You should still apply as benefits could be increased.
Carer's Allowance is normally paid directly into any account of your choice which accepts benefit payments might be a bank, building society or other account provider.
Further information is available on the GOV.UK website
Tax credits are payments from the government. If you're responsible for at least one child or young person, you may qualify for Child Tax Credit. If you work, but are on a low income, you may qualify for Working Tax Credit. Depending on your circumstances you may be eligible to both types of tax credits and they aren't taxable.
To claim tax credits you have to fill in a claim form. You can only get a tax credits claim pack from the Tax Credit Helpline. It is a good idea to get the following together before you call:
on tel: 0845 3003900 or visit: www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits
Contact a Family have a Benefits Checklist and a Factsheet called Benefits, Tax Credits and Other Financial Assistance.
To get either or both contact them on tel: 0808 8083555 or visit: www.cafamily.org.uk
Disability Living Allowance is a tax-free benefit for disabled children and adults to help with extra costs you may have due to a disability. It is not based on the type of disability that matters, but the needs arising from it and how that disability affects you.
Disability Allowance is payable for children from age 0 to 16 who meet the required criteria. If you child is 16 or over, then you must apply for help through the Personal Indepdence Payment scheme.
For information and advice on how to qualify and claim DLA for your child, please visit www.gov.uk
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a new benefit replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults aged 16-64. DLA will continue as seperate benefit for children aged under 16 years.
Initially PIP only applied to those making a new claim, but it is now also replacing existing DLA awards for some claimants.
For more information please visit www.gov.uk
Contact a Family supports families with disabled children across the UK. Whatever the condition, whenever they need us, wherever they are.
We provide information, advice and support. We bring families together so they can support each other. We campaign to improve their circumstances, and for their right to be included and equal in society.
Most of us have debts of some sort or another. However research shows us that families with disabled children are more at risk of getting into debt as it costs more to raise a child with additional needs.
Contact a Family provide access to parent advisers on their helpline to answer some commonly asked questions around the subject of debt.
Information around where to get help is readily available on their website
Help with debt - where to get free and confidential debt advice, and an explanation of priority and non-priority debts.
Debt, benefits and grants - information around benefits, rent arrears and debts.
Problems with borrowing - more on borrowing and what to do if you are being harrassed by creditors
Contact a Family are also accessible to help you get a full benefits check, if you would like to know more, call their freephone helpline on 0808 808 3555, Monday-Friday, 9.30-5.00pm.
Volunteer Parent Representative
Telephone: 01942 721 323
Family Fund are the UK’s largest provider of grants to low-income families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people. They help ease the additional pressures families face. They can help with essential items such as washing machines, fridges and clothing but can also consider grants for sensory toys, computers and much needed family breaks together.
The organisation can help families across the UK who are raising a disabled or seriously ill child or young person aged 17 or under.
You can apply to the Family Fund if:
Help from the Family Fund is discretionary and subject to available funding. The Fund also retains discretion to decline an application where a family has a significant level of capital or household income.
The Organisation are unable to help children and young people in local authority care, including those living with foster carers.
Due to limited funding, they are unable to help all disabled children. Family Fund will use their own disability criteria when establishing eligibility.
To find out if you are eligible to receive a grant visit the Family Fund website.
Telephone: 01904 621115
Textphone: 01904 658085
Fax: 01904 652625
4 Alpha Court
Monks Cross Drive
York YO32 9WN
Working Families™ is the UK’s leading work-life balance organisation. The charity helps working parents and carers and their employers find a better balance between responsibilities at home and work.
Everyone who has a child usually has to consider their options for caring for their child whilst maintaining financial security. If you are finding it difficult to decide what to do for the best then it is worth checking what benefits and tax credits you are entitled to, or would be entitled to, if you make changes to your working life.
Working Families offers advice for rights at work to parents and carers to help them achieve a work-life balance.
For more information visit the workingfamilies.org.uk or use any of the contact details below.
1 Addington Square
Telephone: 020 7253 7243
Advice line: 0300 012 0312
Please be advised that Working Families do not use encrypted email.
As such please ensure that you do not provide personal information in your email content.
If unsure, please use the advice telephone line.
The CAB provides advice on a wide range of subjects such as legal, money and other problems. Although advice is available if you drop-in to the office, appointments will be required for some services.
St Helens Citizen's Advice Bureau is based within the Millennium Centre in the town centre:
Telephone: 08448 269 694
This organisation may be able to assist an adult or child to have a holiday in the UK. It will accept referrals from a social worker or voluntary agency.
Family Action Central Office
501-505 Kingsland Road
Telephone: 020 7254 6251
Family Action Website
Is a national organisation that provides free, impartial advice about all types of equipment and mobility products for disabled adults, disabled children, older people, their carers and families. The Foundation can help the person you care for to find solutions that enable them to stay active and independent. It provides a free helpline service.
A free factsheet - 'Telecare made easy' is particularly useful
Telecare is a technology-based system that offers new ways to manage home safety, enabling vulnerable people to live independently for as long as possible, giving peace of mind for disabled people and their carers. It consists of a range of sensors positioned throughout the home, which alert the carer, or a monitoring centre, if there is a problem in the home, such as a gas leak or fire, or if the person they are caring for has a problem and needs assistance.
The purpose of Telecare is not to replace the carer, but to allow them to leave the house, or get a good night's sleep, confident that they will be informed if an emergency occurs. Examples include fall detectors, bed/chair occupancy sensor and epilepsy sensors.
Telephone: 0845 1309177
Disables Living Foundation Website
Provides clear, practical advice on daily living equipment for young people.
Living Made Easy Website
Disability Rights UK is a service provided by disabled people, working to create a society where everyone with lived experience of disability or health conditions can participate equally as full citizens.