Children with disabilities present various challenges for those who look after them. But, financial help and support is available for people who are caring for a disabled child.
YOUR RIGHTS: The type of concessions you can get apply to you and your disabled child.
As a rule, your council must provide help for those with a disabled child, such as:
It can include help with childcare fees and some of the costs associated with traveling. You may even qualify to get extra financial help towards house adaptations and special child education.
The Children Act 1989 means councils have a duty to provide these types of services. Many of these are free of charge. But, some district authorities may ask for a contribution towards some resources.
Contact the social services staff at your local council department. They can help you determine whether your child qualifies for concessionary aid.
A social worker will conduct a 'needs assessment' with you. They base their advice on the specific needs of your family, which includes:
Note: Your council will have more information about local support groups for children and families. These are for carers and families with disabled children.
There are different types of help and concessions you can get while caring for a disabled child. But, if your child qualifies, you may be able to apply for direct payments from your council instead.
Direct payments get paid straight to the claimants. That means they can make arrangements themselves for services that they need. They are an alternative to council social care services.
Use the Family Information Service to find out about childcare in your local area. The service can also provide details on any other specialist services. This could be helpful if your child needs them due to their disability.
You can get free childcare and education for some 2-year-olds and all 3 to 4-year-olds in England. As a rule, you get 570 hours of free early education or childcare each year. Most parents opt for 15 hours a week which lasts for 38 weeks of the year.
Note: Do you have a Family File through the Early Support Programme? If so you should show it to your childcare provider. Free education and child care also exists in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Schools and other education providers must not discriminate against disabled children. It is against the law in the United Kingdom. These discrimination laws fall under the Equality Act 2010. Examples of discrimination towards a children with disabilities might include:
Note: Contact EASS if you feel the school discriminated against your child because of a disability.
Equality Advisory Support Service Helpline
Telephone: 0808 800 0082
Textphone: 0808 800 0084
Monday to Friday: 9am to 7pm
Saturday: 10am to 2pm
Find out phone call charges.
There are several ways schools can make 'reasonable adjustments' for children with disabilities. They must do so by law and adjustments can include:
Some disabled children may have Special Education Needs. This recognises their slower ability to learn because of their disabilities. Your council can carry out an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment for your child.
Note: The council must ensure disabled children get this support. You can also ask to see the school policy on their provisions on special educational needs.
The Motability leasing scheme helps you lease a car. Your child must be 3 or over and have entitlement for either:
The Motability website has further information about the car and scooter scheme for disabled people. You can also contact them at:
The Motability Scheme
Telephone: 0300 456 4566
Textphone: 0300 037 0100
Monday to Friday: 8am to 7pm
Saturday: 9am to 1pm
Some local authorities offer the DFG in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. A Disabled Facilities Grant helps to cover the cost of making essential improvements to your home to meet the needs of your child. That means many children with disabilities can continue to live in the family home.
Disabled Facilities Grants are usually based on the recommendation of an occupational therapist. Acceptance into the scheme does not affect any benefits that you get already.
Concessions and Financial Help If You Have a Disabled Child in the United Kingdom