Financial help is available to families of disabled children due to the well documented evidence indicating that caring for a disabled child can not only be expensive but is also a full-time role, making it difficult to access paid work.
When applying for these benefits make sure you have supporting evidence from medical professionals such as paediatricians and therapy reports.
If you need further information or support with completing applications, please contact Julia Mc Sweeney at Full of Life’s Family Support Service on 0208 962 9994/ email@example.com.
HOUSING BENEFITS AND GRANTS
Spare Bedroom Tax
The Spare Bedroom Tax was introduced in April 2013. This means that tenants of working age (under the state pension credit age) in social housing 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 rules will restrict Housing Benefit to allow for one bedroom for:
- A couple - however from 1st April 2017 if a couple is unable to share a bedroom due to health reasons then both members of the couple should be allowed their own bedroom.
- A person over 16
- Two children of the same sex under 16
- Two children of any sex who are under 10
- Any other child (other than a foster child or child whose main home is elsewhere)
- A disabled child who is in receipt of the middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), where the local authority decision maker is satisfied that the child cannot reasonably share a bedroom with another sibling (see below for further details)
- A non-resident carer (or group of carers) providing overnight care to the tenant their partner a child or other non-dependant adult, where this is considered to be required'
- An adult child who is in the Armed Forces, including the Reserve Forces, but who continues to live with parents (note: they are treated as continuing to live at home, even when deployed on operations)
- Approved foster carers (and formal kinship carers in Scotland) so long as they have fostered a child, or become an approved foster carer in the last 12 months
How much will Housing Benefit be restricted by?
Where households are seen to be under-occupying because they have 'spare' bedrooms according to the rules, they will see a reduction in their Housing Benefit. Their 'eligible rent' (the figure used to calculate Housing Benefit) will be reduced by:
- 14% for one extra bedroom
- 25% for two or more extra bedrooms
However there are some important exceptions in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea:
- A disabled child in receipt of the middle or high rate component of DLA - 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.
Disabled Facilities Grant
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.
For further information contact the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea housing department:
Address: Housing Needs, Housing Department, Hornton Street, W8 7NX.
Housing line: 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 if 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
Aged 74 and over You're entitled to a free over 75 TV Licence when you turn 75. If you're 74, you can apply for a short-term licence to cover you up to your 75th birthday.
Care home residents Residents may qualify for a discounted TV Licence fee of £7.50. Residents, staff and residents' families all need a separate licence for their own living area.
Registered as blind You're entitled to a 50% reduction in your TV Licence fee if you're certified as blind (severely sight impaired).
For more information please see the TV Licensing website www.tvlicensing.co.uk
Tax credits are payments from the government. If you’re responsible for at least one child (under the age of 16) or young person (under the age of 20 in education/training) who normally lives with you, you may qualify for Child Tax Credit. If you work, but earn low wages, you may qualify for Working Tax Credit.
Who can get tax credits?
Nine out of ten families with children get tax credits, but you don’t need to have children to qualify. You may also qualify if you are working and earning a low wage.
How much do you get?
The amount of tax credits you get depends on the following:
- How many children you have living with you
- Whether you work and how many hours you work
- Your income
- If you pay for childcare
- If you or any child living with you has a disability
- If you’re aged 50 plus and are coming off benefits
How tax credits work
If you’re married or living with a partner you’ll need to make a joint claim for tax credits. You can only make a single claim if you don’t have a partner.
The Tax Credit Office pay tax credits directly into your bank, building society, Post Office account or National Savings account if it accepts Direct Payment either weekly or every four weeks.
Who will receive the payments?
If you’re both working and you both qualify for Working Tax Credit, you can decide who’ll get the payments. If you’re claiming Child Tax Credit as a couple you need to decide which one of you is the children’s main carer. If you’re the main carer then the money will be paid to you.
Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900 or textphone 0345 300 3909
LOCAL SUPPORT PAYMENT
Local support payments are emergency funds provided by the Local Authority due to an emergency or crisis or to help remain or settle into a community. This is part of a national government initiative to hand over the responsibility of crisis loans to Local Authorities and organisations.
The payments are not usually in the form of money but instead are good quality, second hand furniture or white goods (for example, refrigerators or washing machines) or store vouchers.
To claim you have to show you have limited savings and be receiving one of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Incapacity Benefit
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance, maximum Universal Credit (where the latest award has not been reduced by earnings or other income).
Following an assessment, a person with a disability will be awarded a Personal Budget. This is an indicative amount of money, which is given by the Local Authority (and other funding streams), to meet the individual's identified care and support needs. It can be received in two ways:
Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ)
A Self-Assessment Questionnaire is an assessment used to determine the minimum amount of money that is required to provide services to meet the needs of your young person. This is a simple tick box form which you can either complete yourself or with a social worker.
It is essential that you specifically request to complete these assessments one to one with your social worker. This means that it is more likely that the Care Plan better reflects and quantifies your needs and your young person’s needs.
The SAQ is not a statutory requirement, which means that you can choose whether or not you wish to complete it.
How you can receive your services:
Personal Budget: is an indicative amount of funding given to people with disabilities, after an assessment called the Personal Budget Assessment, which should be sufficient to meet their assessed needs. You can choose how you would like to receive the Personal Budget.
Receiving the Personal Budget as a Direct Payment: One option is Direct payments, where you receive the money directly to pay for services yourself. Direct payments confer responsibilities on the recipient to decide how their child's needs are met, either by employing people, often known as personal assistants, or by commissioning services. This can offer greater choice and flexibility and you and your social worker will work together to choose appropriate services to meet the needs of your child. Receiving a personal budget in the form of a Direct Payment means that you manage the spending and have to ensure that you do not over spend this budget or use money in ways which are not in line with the guidelines as this can result in you having to pay the money back. You must also keep all receipts and records of your expenditure of the Personal Budget as all public money must be accounted for.
Alternative to receiving a Personal Budget as a Direct Payment:
If you decide you do not want to receive the money directly to pay for services to meet your child's needs, the Disabled Children’s Team can manage both the money and the type of services that will be used to meet the needs of your child. This should be done in line with your wishes.
Continuing Healthcare: If the primary needs of your child are health related then the services will either be fully or partly provided by The Department of Health. For further information please Click here.
It is important to note that The Personal Budget is OPTIONAL, as it is not a statutory requirement. However, the Personal Budget is generally used in practice by the Disabled Children’s Team. If you decide against the Personal Budget, the Local Authority will make sure that your child will continue to receive services as dictated by their needs assessment and care plan.
Universal Credit is a monthly payment for people who are on low income or are out of work.
It's being rolled out in stages across the UK and is replacing all means tested benefits including Employment Support Allowance, Jobseekers Allowance, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credit.
How much you can receive depends on your circumstances, including your income and how many children you have.
For more information you can contact the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) or your local Jobcentre.
Carer’s Allowance is a taxable benefit to help people who look after someone who is disabled. You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person that you care for. However you must report any change in your circumstances if you’re claiming or have applied for Carer’s Allowance, such as getting a job or taking a break from caring.
Who can receive Carer’s Allowance?
You may be able to receive Carer’s Allowance if you are aged 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a person who gets either:
- Personal Independence Payment - daily living component
- Disability Living Allowance - the middle or highest care rate
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
To claim you must be over 16, and the following must apply:
- you're 16 or over
- you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
- you've been in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the last 3 years (this doesn't apply if you're a refugee or have humanitarian protection status)
- you normally live in England, Scotland or Wales, or you live abroad as a member of the armed forces
- you're not in full-time education
- you're not studying for 21 hours a week or more
- you earn no more than £116 a week after tax and some expenses - these will be assessed when you apply
- you're not subject to immigration control
Carers who are themselves disabled can claim. You can only get one award for Carer's Allowance even if you care for more than one person.
For more information please click here.
DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE (DLA)
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit provided to help support children under 16 who have care and mobility needs greater than those of a child of the same age who does not have a disability.
Who can receive Disability Living Allowance?
DLA is a benefit to help with the extra costs of raising a disabled child and is therefore not means-tested.
You can receive DLA for your child if:
- Your child's disability or health condition means that one or both of the following apply:
- They need more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn't have a disability.
- They have difficulty getting about.
- They must have had these difficulties for at least 3 months and expect them to last for at least 6 months. If they're terminally ill (that is, not expected to live more than 6 months), they don't need to have had these difficulties for 3 months.
How much will you receive?
DLA has two parts called ‘components':
A care component - relating to care in addition to what would be perceived as 'expected' for a child of their age
The rate the child gets depends on the level of looking after they need, for example:
- lowest rate - help for some of the day or night
- middle rate - frequent help or constant supervision during the day, supervision at night or someone to help while they're on dialysis
- highest rate - help or supervision throughout both day and night, or they're terminally ill.
A mobility component - relating to support they need in moving around
The rate the child gets depends on the level of help they need getting about, for example:
- lowest rate - they can walk but need help and or supervision when outdoors
- highest rate - they can't walk, can only walk a short distance without severe discomfort, could become very ill if they try to walk or they're blind, severely sight impaired.
You may be paid either one or both of these components but they can only receive one rate from each component.
Effects on other benefits and entitlements
Receiving DLA may increase the amount of other benefits or credits you’re entitled to, such as Income Support, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
It can also be a gateway into other support including carers allowance, the blue badge scheme and Motability Scheme.
For more information on DLA click here (link to https://www.gov.uk/dla-disability-living-allowance-benefit )
The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA 1998) is an act of Parliament defining the ways in which information about living people may be legally used and handled. The fundamental principles of DPA 1998 specify that personal data must be processed fairly and lawfully.
You have a right to obtain any information held about you and also ensure that the information held about you is correct.
You can ask the organisation you think is holding or sharing information about you to supply you with paper and computer records and related information, they must comply with you request within 40 days. You may also be charged a fee for this request, an organisation may charge a fee of up to £10, if it is a credit reference agency the fee is £2. There are also special rules that apply to paper based health records the maximum fee is currently £50 and for Education records there is a sliding scale of £1 to £50 depending on the number of pages.
For further information please contact childrens services at firstname.lastname@example.org and adult services at email@example.com