Increase to child disability addition needed in Budget

3 mins read

Monday 13 March 2023

Tags: universal credit, childcare, energy bills, budget, social tariff, budget 2023, child disability addition

On Wednesday, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will present his Budget Statement to parliament.

With anticipated changes to Universal Credit and with charities calling for renewed cost of living support, Contact is clear that the Chancellor must provide targeted support to families with disabled children.

Stop Universal Credit cuts

The Chancellor is expected to announce that Universal Credit claimants will be able to claim more towards childcare.

If you work and pay for registered childcare costs, you might currently receive an extra allowance covering 85 per cent of your childcare costs up to a maximum of £646.35. This total is expected to rise by several hundred pounds.

In addition, Universal Credit claimants will receive this help upfront.

We would welcome any additional help towards childcare for disabled children. Our Counting the Costs research found that 33% of parents had to quit a job due to the costs and lack of suitable childcare. 27% were forced to work fewer hours.

But the Chancellor must also commit to an increase in the child disability addition under Universal Credit.

Many families with disabled children claiming Universal Credit from legacy benefits will be worse off by more than £1,800 a year. This is because the lower child disability addition under Universal Credit is far less generous than the equivalent payment on the benefits it is replacing.

We know the government plans to start managed migration this year. This will mean families on legacy benefits will be asked to claim Universal Credit. Many could face this huge cut in benefit during a cost of living crisis.

So it’s vitally important that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt increases the child disability addition in Wednesday’s budget.

Targeted energy support for families

The Chancellor is expected to maintain the energy price guarantee of £2,500 from April 2023, instead of raising it to £3,000.

We think the Chancellor must go further and offer targeted support to households that need it most, including families with disabled children.

Households with seriously ill and disabled children are paying on average £1,596 extra a year to run vital equipment. More than a third of families with disabled children are cutting back on this life-saving electrical equipment as costs soar.

We are calling on the government to introduce a social tariff to help families with disabled children with their energy bills.

Una Summerson, head of campaigns at Contact, said: “While the energy price guarantee helped in the short term, we have long argued for targeted support. A social tariff for energy is the best way to do this.”

Action on Carer’s Allowance

We are calling on the government to increase the Carer’s Allowance earnings limit to £199.50 per week. This is the value of 21 hours at the National Living Wage.

At the moment, carers earning even 1p over the existing £132 limit (after making certain deductions) lose all of their Carer’s Allowance.

The government says it wants to encourage people back into work. This simple measure would allow carers to work and earn more without losing their entitlement to this vital benefit.

We want the government to increase the rate of Carer’s Allowance itself so that carers get the financial support they need and deserve.

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