Caring for a child or young person with a special educational need or disability can involve extra or unexpected costs. There are various sources of financial support available to help with these costs, details of which can be found in the sections below.
For general information,visit the government's Help if you have a disabled child website..
You may be able to receive help with your living and housing costs through Welfare benefits if you are disabled, have a long–term illness, have caring responsibilities or are frail because of your age.
Your entitlement to benefits depends on you meeting the rules and guidelines for each of the benefits you claim. Most low income benefits such as income support are means tested, in other words, the amount of income support you receive will depend on any other income or savings you may have.
Your entitlement to some disability benefits such as Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments depends on your care requirements and are not means tested.
The Department for Work and Pensions will be able to tell you if you are entitled to individual benefits. For more information visit the Carers and disability benefits government website.
If your child or young person has a special need or a disability then they may be entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA). This is a tax-free benefit which can help with the extra costs of looking after a child who:
- is under 16
- has difficulties walking or needs more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability
The DLA rate depends on the level of help your child/young person needs. They may need an assessment to work out whether they are entitled to DLA and how much they will receive.
More detailed information, as well as the DLA claim form, can be found on the Government’s DLA webpages.
As parents/carers, you might also qualify for Carer’s Allowance if you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a child who gets the middle or highest care rate of DLA (for more information please see our ‘Carer’s Allowance’ section).
DLA can only be claimed for children/young people under the age of 16 years; those over the age of 16 must apply for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead (please see our section on ‘Personal Independence Payment’).
Young people who have received the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), and who turned 16 years of age on or after 7th October 2013, will be able to claim a Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which is the new financial benefit that is replacing the DLA for individuals aged 16 to 64 years.
Parents should be sent a letter before their young person turns 16 years of age. This letter will explain what will happen to the young person’s DLA, as well as how and when they will be able to claim the PIP.
An online PIP checker is also available, to find out what will happen to the DLA once a young person turns 16.
Please note: a young person’s DLA will end if they decide not to apply for PIP. An application still needs to be made even if the young person has been granted an indefinite or lifetime DLA Award. The DLA will continue to be awarded for at least 28 days after a decision has been made about the PIP claim.
Children and young people who have been awarded DLA under the rules for people who are terminally ill usually will not be affected by PIP.
As parents/carers, you might qualify for Carer’s Allowance if you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a child/young person who gets the middle or highest care rate of DLA.
Carer’s Allowance is taxable and can affect your other benefits.
More detailed information on eligibility and the effect on other benefits, as well as a link to the online application system and paper application forms, can be found on the Government’s Carer’s Allowance webpages.
You might be entitled to additional tax credits if you care for a child/young person who is disabled. Information on tax credits can be found on the Government’s Tax Credits web pages.
Students living in England who are accessing higher education can apply for a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if they have a:-
- Long-term health condition
- Mental health condition
- Specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia.
The amount of support received through the DSA depends on individual needs rather than on income. The DSA is paid in addition to other sources of student finance, and does not have to be repaid.
The DSA can help with numerous costs, such as:-
- Specialist equipment (e.g. computer software)
- Non-medical support, such as a note-taker or a reader
- Additional travel costs incurred due to a disability
- Other costs related to a disability, such as photocopying.
Further details of the DSA can be found on the Government’s DSA webpages.
If you have a disabled child/young person then you may be entitled to a grant to help to pay for changes to your home. These changes could include:-
- Widening doors and installing ramps
- Improving access to rooms and facilities – for examples stair lifts or a downstairs bathroom
- Providing a heating system suitable for their needs
- Adapting heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use.
A Disabled Facilities Grant will not affect any other benefits which you receive.
Further details, including the application process, can be found on the Government’s Disabled Facilities Grant webpages.
If you are struggling with money problems, with debts and bills, there is help available. There are a number of local services and agencies who can help by giving you advice and support on how to address your problems.
Camden Advice Partnership
- The Camden Advice Partnership is a group of local organisations who provide advice on a range of issues including money management, debt and bills.
- You can visit their website for more information, or contact the organisations below directly.
Where can I go for advice on money management, debt and bills?
Tel: 0300 330 0646
Address: Kentish Town: 242 Kentish Town Road, NW5 2AB
Address: Camden CAB at Albany: 141a Robert Street, NW1 3QT
Tel: 0207 284 6510
Address: 2 Prince of Wales Road, Kentish Town, NW5 3LQ
Tel: 020 7831 7079
Address: 10 Great Turnstile, Holborn, WC1V 7JU
Other Local and National Resources
The Money Advice Service
- Help people manage their money by giving free and impartial advice on all money matters. For more information visit their website or call 0300 500 5000.
- The Money Advice Service also provide free money advice sessions once a month at 5 Pancras Square, N1C 4AG. If you would like to book an appointment or find out more, please email email@example.com.
The Money Charity
- Helps people better manage money as well as to develop skills to make money last longer. For more information, visit their website.