Having a child with additional needs can be financially challenging. There is state financial support in addition to charities that can provide funding for equipment.

Disability living allowance (DLA)

Care component – Stands for disability living allowance and is money for children (under 16) who have care needs and/or mobility needs. It is not means tested so anyone can apply. You will need to prove that the child needs more care and attention than other children of the same age. There is a lot of paperwork to fill out and it is advisable to get help with this. The child can be awarded lower (£23.60/week), middle (£59.17/week) or higher rate (£89.15/week) care component of the allowance. You can apply here.

Mobility component –   Once a child is three years of age they may also be entitled to the higher mobility component of the allowance. This is if the child has difficulties getting around or if walking puts them in danger or may make their health deteriorate. The higher rate is £62.25/week and this is on top of the care component. (There is also the option of the motability scheme, wherein the mobility component does not get paid to the individual and instead gets used to lease a vehicle).

A lower rate of £23.60/week can be given once the child is five and has trouble getting around places they don’t know very well. See the Citizen’s advice website for more information.

Carers Allowance – If the child receives the middle or higher rate care component of DLA then the guardian or parent will be entitled to claim carers allowance if they 1) earn less than £128 a week and 2) care for the child for 35 hours or more a week. In simple terms, if your child already gets substantial DLA and you look after them during the day then you should be entitled to this extra money. You can apply here.

Universal Credit – your child is disabled you may be able to claim the disabled child element as part of your Universal Credit payment. The rate of disabled child element you get will depend on the rate of DLA or PIP you are getting for them.

Employment and Support allowance (for post 16) – You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work. It is money to help with living costs if you are unable to work. There is also a disability premium on top of this that can be applied for. The current rate of pay for ESA is £117.60 a week.

Child Tax Credits – If you claim child tax credits you can also claim for the disability rate on top of the standard payment. Click here for more information.

Reduction in council tax – find out if you are eligible here.

Discounted water bills – This Scope page explains further.

Council grants for building works – Families with disabled children are eligible for DFG grants. A grant can cover costs up to £30,000 in England and £36,000 in Wales.

Family fund – A charity that provides grants to families of disabled children to buy specialist equipment. It is specifically for low income families.

Discounts For Carers – Sign up and get access to discounts for lots of different stores in addition to being able to get an Ode Card, which is a top up payment card that gives up to 12% cashback on selected retailers e.g. Sainsburys

Funding transport

Many of our children will require a specialist car or, if not an adapted vehicle, they will still require private transport since public transport is not possible due to the high needs of the child.

If you are eligible for the mobility component of DLA (see above) but the deposit for a vehicle under motability is still out of reach there are charities that can help. Find out more here.

For more information on charity help, click here.