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Finance and benefits

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:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - the middle or highest care rate
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, or basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)

You might be able to get Carer’s Allowance if all of the following apply:

  • You are 16 or over
  • You spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
  • You have been in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the last 3 years
  • You normally live in England, Scotland or Wales, or you live abroad as a member of the armed forces
  • You’re not in full time education or studying for more than 21 hours a week
  • You earn less than £116 a week (after taxes, care costs while you’re at work and 50% of what you pay into your pension)

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.

  • Working Tax Credit is based on the hours you work and get paid for, or expect to be paid for. You can claim whether you're an employee or a self-employed person. But unpaid work doesn't count for Working Tax Credit.
  • Child Tax Credit is paid to you if you are responsible for at least one child or young person who normally lives with you. You don't have to be working to claim Child Tax Credit.
     

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:

  • Your National Insurance number.
  • Your income for the last tax year (a tax year runs from 6 April one year to 5 April the next) if you were employed - P60 / final pay slip for the tax year.
  • Details of your income for the last tax year if you were self employed.
  • Details of any benefits you get like contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Carer's Allowance.
  • Details of other income you get like savings interest, pensions or rent.
  • Details of any childcare payments you make if you use a registered or approved provider.
     For more information contact Inland Revenue Tax Credit Helpline

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.

Contact a Family Representative - St Helens

Ruth Card
Volunteer Parent Representative
Telephone: 01942 721 323
Email:        ruth.card@cafamily.org.uk

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:

  • You live in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.
  • You are the parent or carer of a disabled or seriously ill child or young person aged 17 or under.
  • You have evidence of your entitlement to one the following: Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit*, Employment Support Allowance*, Housing Benefit and Pension Credit.
  • You have permanent legal residency in the UK and have lived in the UK for six months.
     
    *You may be asked to provide further information about your household income.

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.

Email:         info@familyfund.org.uk
Telephone: 01904 621115
Textphone: 01904 658085
Fax:           01904 652625
 

Address:

Family Fund
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.

Contact details

Working Families
Cambridge House
1 Addington Square
London
SE5 0HF
 
Telephone: 020 7253 7243

Advice line: 0300 012 0312
Email: advice@workingfamilies.org.uk.

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.

1.  Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

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:

Millennium Centre
Corporation Street
St Helens
WA10 1HJ

Telephone: 08448 269 694

CAB Advice Guide

 
2.  Family Action (previously The Family Welfare Association)

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
London
E8 4AU

Telephone: 020 7254 6251
Family Action Website

3.  The Disabled Living Foundation

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

4.  Living made Easy

Provides clear, practical advice on daily living equipment for young people.
Living Made Easy Website

5.  Disability Rights UK

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.

Disability Rights UK Website