Financial help is available to families of disabled children/adults due to the well documented evidence indicating that caring for a disabled child/adult is not only expensive but also a full time role, making it difficult to access paid work.
It is also important to see if you are eligible for the Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payment or Carers Allowance, as these benefits can open the door to many other services that you may not know of or would have access to. For example, if you claim Disability Living Allowance you may also be eligible for the Blue Badge disabled parking scheme.
When applying for these benefits make sure you have supporting medical evidence, such as clinic and therapist reports.
Who to Contact About Disability and Carers Benefits
For more information about benefits you can contact your social worker or keyworker. You can also contact Full of Life for advice and support filling out benefit forms.
Full of Life Family Support Service (0-14, RBKC)
Julia McSweeney, Family Support Worker.
Full of Life, Kensal House Annex. 379 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 5BQ.
Tel: 0208 962 9994
Service Available:Tuesday to Fridays (Answering machine service available).
Full of Life Carers’ Advocacy Service (14+ RBKC)
Samantha Peters, Carers’ Advocate.
Full of Life, Kensal House Annex. 379 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 5BQ.
Tel: 0208 962 9917
Service Available: Monday – Friday (Answering machine service available).
Sure Start Maternity Grant
You could claim a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child. This is known as a Sure Start Maternity Grant.
You usually qualify for the grant if:
- you’re expecting your first child – or you’re expecting a multiple birth (eg twins) and have children already
- you already get certain benefits
- you may also be able to get a grant if you’re adopting or becoming a surrogate parent.
You must claim the grant within 11 weeks of the baby’s due date or within 3 months after the baby’s birth.
You don’t have to pay the grant back and it won’t affect your other benefits or tax credits.
Usually, to qualify for a Sure Start Maternity Grant there must be no other children in your family and you must get one of these benefits:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the family element
- Working Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
- Universal Credit
If you already have children you may still be able to get a grant if you’re expecting a multiple birth (eg twins or triplets).
How to Claim
For more information or help applying for this grant contact the Sure Start Maternity Grant helpline on 0345 603 6967
Disabled Students Allowance
As a higher education student living in England, you can apply for a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if you have a:
- long-term health condition
- mental health condition
- specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia
The support you get depends on your individual needs and not on income.
Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) are paid on top of your other student finance and don’t have to be repaid.
What DSAs can pay for
You can get help with the costs of:
- specialist equipment, like computer software
- non-medical helpers, like a note-taker or reader
- extra travel costs you have to pay because of your disability
- other costs, like photocopying
DSAs don’t cover disability-related costs you’d have if you weren’t attending a course, or costs that any student might have.
Once your eligibility for DSAs is confirmed, Student Finance England will ask you to contact an assessment centre to work out what help you need.
This is known as a needs assessment. Don’t book this until Student Finance England asks you to.
The assessment is paid for through any DSAs entitlement you may have.
After the assessment, you’ll get a report listing equipment and other support you can get for your course.
How to claim
You must send a DSA1 form to Student Finance England. For more information about this click this link: https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas/how-to-claim
Family Fund (0-17)
Family Fund will look at any grant request that relates to the needs of a disabled or seriously ill child, young person and their family.
Families often apply for essential items such as washing machines, but they can also help young people aged 17 and under with grants that have particular meaning to their age group, such as equipment for college.
Due to Family Fund’s limited funding, they are not always able to meet the full cost of every item requested.
For more information about Family Fund please see their website www.familyfund.org.uk. Full of Life’s Family Support Service can also help you to apply. For more information contact Full of Life’s Family Support Worker, Celine Jones on 02028 962 9994 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Housing Benefits and Grants
Spare Bedroom Tax
The Spare Bedroom Tax was introduced in April 2013. This means that tenants of working age who are ‘under-occupying’ property, i.e. living in something that the government has decided is too large for their needs, will have their housing benefit reduced. The size criteria in the social rented sector will restrict housing benefit to allow for one bedroom for each person or couple living as part of the household, with the following exceptions:
- Children under 16 of same gender expected to share
- Children under 10 expected to share regardless of gender
- Disabled tenant or partner who needs non resident overnight carer will be allowed an extra bedroom
Who will be affected? – All claimants who are deemed to have at least one spare bedroom will be affected. This includes:
- Separated parents who share the care of their children and who may have been allocated an extra bedroom to reflect this. Benefit rules mean that there must be a designated ‘main carer’ for children (who receives the extra benefit)
- Couples who use their ‘spare’ bedroom when recovering from an illness or operation
- Foster carers because foster children are not counted as part of the household for benefit purposes
- Parents whose children visit but are not part of the household
- Families with disabled children
- Disabled people including people living in adapted or specially designed properties.
How much will people lose?
- The cut will be a fixed percentage of the housing benefit eligible rent.
- The government has said that this will be set at 14% for one extra bedroom and 25% for two or more extra bedrooms, which means that people will lose an average of £14 a week.
- Housing association tenants are expected to lose £16 a week on average.
However there are some important exceptions in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea:
- Families with disabled children – Those whose children are said to be unable to share a bedroom because of severe disabilities will be able to claim Housing Benefit for an extra room. Local Authorities will then have to assess the individual circumstances of the claimant and their family and decide whether their disabilities are genuinely such that it is inappropriate for the children to be expected to share a room. This will involve considering not only the nature and severity of the disability but also the nature and frequency of care required during the night, and the extent and regularity of the disturbance to the sleep of the child who would normally be required to share the bedroom. In all cases this will come down to a matter of judgment of the facts. For the official government guidance: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/u2-2013.pdf
- Medical Equipment – We have been advised by the RBKC Housing Team that a spare bedroom can also be exempt from the spare bedroom tax if it is the only place where necessary medical equipment can be stored. However you must be able to prove that this room has ONLY been used for medical equipment for a long period of time and will not be used as a bedroom in the future.
Discretionary Housing Payments
In some cases, if the main claimant is unable to afford their rent due to a reduction in benefits, they can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment. If the application is accepted, the council will pay the shortfall between their rent and their benefits. For more information you can call the RBKC Benefits Service on 020 7361 3006.
A Disabled Facilities Grant is a local council grant to help towards the cost of essential adaptations to your home to enable your disabled child/adult to continue to live there.
To get an application form, contact the housing or environment health department of your local council.
The contact details for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea housing department is as follows:
Address: Housing Needs, Housing Department, Hornton Street, W8 7NX.
Housingline: 0207 361 3008
Council Tax Reduction
Since April 2013 Council Tax Benefit was no longer available to claim, instead you can apply for Council Tax Reduction. You’ll get money off your Council Tax bill and you can apply for this is you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.
What you’ll get
The most you can get is a 100% reduction. How much you get depends on:
- where you live – each council runs their own scheme
- your circumstances (eg income, number of children)
- your household income – this includes things like savings, pension, your partner’s income
- if your children live with you
- if other adults live with you
You may get Council Tax Reduction if:
- you pay Council Tax
- you’re on a low income or claiming benefits
How to apply
Contact the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Benefits Service on 0207 361 3006
Television License Discount
If you are registered blind or in residential care, you can get a 5 discount on the cost of a TV licence.
You can apply for a 50% discount if you are registered blind or live with someone who is, the licence has to be in the blind person’s name.
If you live in residential care either because you are disabled or retired and aged over 60, you can apply for a special licence for £7.50.
For more information please see the TV Licensing website www.tvlicensing.co.uk