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 Full of Life’s Family Support Service on 020 8962 9952 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Spare Bedroom Tax
The Spare Bedroom Tax was introduced in April 2013. It is also referred to as the ‘under-occupation penalty’ or the ‘removal of the spare room subsidy’ and it applies to people living in a property that the government has decided is too large for their needs. This means that if you have a spare bedroom and are renting a council, housing association or registered social landlord property, your Housing Benefit or housing costs element of Universal Credit will be reduced.
Tenants renting privately are not affected by the tax because they are allocated Local Housing Allowance (LHA) which calculates how much they are entitled to depending on the size of their household. Any difference in LHA and rent must be paid by the tenant.
The following rules are used in the Spare Bedroom Tax to allow 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 aged between 16 and minimum State Pension Credit age
- Two children of the same gender under 16 are expected to share
- Two children under 10 are expected to share, regardless of gender
- 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
- Medical equipment needs to be stored and there is no other available space
- A non-resident carer providing overnight care to the tenant, their partner, a child or other non-dependent adult
- 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 so long as they have fostered a child, or become an approved foster carer in the last 12 months
- An adult child who is a full-time student, providing they don’t go for more than 52 weeks without returning home or 6 months under Universal Credit However, full-time students won’t be exempt from the ‘Housing Cost Contribution’ under Universal Credit
- If the council has placed you in temporary accommodation due to homelessness then it won’t apply
- If there is a death in the household then it won’t apply for 52 weeks, but with Universal Credit this is reduced to 3 months
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 or housing element of Universal Credit. Their ‘eligible rent’ (the figure used to calculate benefit) will be reduced by:
- 14% for one extra bedroom
- 25% for two or more extra bedrooms
For example: your eligible rent is £100 per week,
-with one spare bedroom: eligible rent is reduced by 14% to £86 per week
-with two spare bedrooms: eligible rent is reduced by 25% to £75 per week
You will have to pay the difference between your rent and benefit.
Discretionary Housing Payment
The Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) provides financial support to help with rent or housing costs. You can apply for a DHP if you currently claim Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit and need more financial support with housing costs. DHP is available to those affected by a reduction in benefits. Your council will look at your circumstances to see if you are eligible. If the application is accepted, the council will pay the shortfall between the rent and benefits.
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 or specialist equipment to help with daily tasks. An Occupational Therapist will visit you to do an assessment. They will give you advice and discuss the best options for equipment or adaptations.
RBKC Adaptations Team on 020 7745 6703 / 020 7745 6704
Council Tax Reduction
Council Tax Reduction replaced Council Tax Benefit in April 2013. You could be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. Your council tax bill could be reduced by up to100%.
You can apply for this if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.
What you get depends on:
- where you live: each council runs their own scheme
- your circumstances (eg income, number of children, benefits, residency status)
- 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
RBKC Benefits Service on 0207 361 3006
Tax Credits are being replaced by Universal Credit and no new applications can be made for Tax Credits.
Tax Credits are payments from the government that give extra money to people who need it. There are two types of tax credit – Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. 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. You might be eligible for one or both of them depending on your household income and your circumstances. You will have to renew them each year to continue receiving payments (a renewal pack will be sent to you).
Tax Credits won’t affect how much Child Benefit you get paid, but they could change how much you receive in other benefits.
Am I eligible?
To qualify for tax credits will depend on:
- 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
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.
Tax Credit Helpline: 0345 300 3900
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.
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)
Call RBKC Benefits on 020 7361 3006
A Personal Budget can be awarded to you if you have a disability or long term illness. It is the amount of money your local council will pay towards any social care and support you need after they carry out an assessment. Since the Care Act 2014, there is a legal duty on local councils to produce a care and support plan and offer a personal budget following an assessment to ensure that disabled people and carers’ needs are adequately met.
Receiving the Personal Budget as a Direct Payment
You can decide to manage your own personal budget and opt to have it given to you as a 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.
Universal Credit is a monthly payment for people who are on low income or are out of work. This will be paid directly into your bank or building society account. Universal Credit is 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
- Working Tax Credit
If you are already claiming these benefits and your circumstances change in a way that would make a new claim then you would need to make a claim for Universal Credit instead.
You can claim if you:
- Are aged between 18 and State Pension age, although some people aged 16 or 17 can also get it, depending on their circumstances
- You must have £16,000 or less in savings
If you have a partner then you must make a joint claim for your household. How much you get will depend on your partner’s income and savings, as well as your own.
The payment is made up of a basic ‘standard allowance’ and extra payments that might apply to you depending on your circumstances. You might be able to get extra payments if you:
- look after one or more children
- work and pay for childcare
- need help with housing costs
- are disabled or have a health condition
- are a carer for a disabled person or you have a disabled child
How do I apply?
You have to apply for Universal Credit online. The first thing you need to do is set up an online account – you’ll use this to apply and manage your claim. You might be able to apply by phone in special circumstances. Then you’ll need to complete 4 more steps before you can get Universal Credit. You’ll need to:
- answer questions about your situation – this is called your ‘to-do list’
- confirm your identity – you can do this online or in person
- book an appointment at your Jobcentre
- go to your appointment
You can log into your Universal Credit account on GOV.UK.
Universal Credit Helpline 0800 328 5644
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. If you are not eligible for Carer’s Allowance, you might be able to claim Carer’s Credit.
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 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 £128 a week after tax, National Insurance 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.
Carer’s Allowance General Enquiries 0800 731 0297
For more information please click here.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a tax-free 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’, the Care Component and the Mobility Component. Your child may get one or both of these components depending on their circumstances.
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 £23.70 per week
- middle rate – frequent help or constant supervision during the day, supervision at night or someone to help while they’re on dialysis £60 per week
- highest rate – help or supervision throughout both day and night, or they’re terminally ill £89.60 per week
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 £23.70 per week
- 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 £62.55 per week
When your child turns 16
Your child will need to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) when they turn 16 years old.
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/Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit.
It can also be a gateway into other support including Carer’s 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 )
Disability Living Allowance helpline 0800 121 4600