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:
- Holiday play schemes and short break services.
- Care at home, aids, and adaptations.
- Money to help with travel costs of hospital visits.
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:
- Child health benefit.
- Social care for children
- Special Education Needs for children.
Note: Your council will have more information about local support groups for children and families. These are for carers and families with disabled children.
Getting Help with Direct Payments
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.
Family Information Service for Childcare
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.
Help towards Childcare Fees
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.
Education for Disabled Child
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:
- A school refuses to admit a disabled child and the only reason is their disability.
- Disallowing a disabled pupil to go outside at break time because they take longer to get there.
Note: Contact EASS if you feel the school discriminated against your child because of a disability.
Schools Making ‘Reasonable Adjustments’
There are several ways schools can make ‘reasonable adjustments‘ for children with disabilities. They must do so by law and adjustments can include:
- Making changes to physical structures (e.g. add a ramp for wheelchair use).
- Changing the way learners get assessed.
- Providing extra aids and support (e.g. using specialist equipment or teachers).
Special Educational Needs (SEN and EHC)
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.
Motability Scheme: Leasing a Motability Car
The Motability leasing scheme helps you lease a car. Your child must be 3 or over and have entitlement for either:
- The higher rate of the mobility component of DLA ‘Disability Living Allowance‘.
- The enhanced mobility component of PIP ‘Personal Independence Payment‘.
The Motability website has further information about the car and scooter scheme for disabled people. You can also contact them at:
DFG for Home Adaptations
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.