Debt, benefits and grants

My creditors think I should use my son's disability living allowance (DLA) to pay off my credit card debts. I spend it all on extras for my son. What should I do?

  • When you work out your income and spending, include an amount for disability related expenditure that's equivalent to your child's disability living allowance (DLA).
  • Make sure you list all the extra costs you have because of your child's disability. This should help show your creditors that your child's DLA is not spare money to clear debts.
  • Remember that benefits like DLA are intended to cover your child's extra care and mobility needs. Get further advice, if a creditor continues to say it should be used to help pay debts.

I find I have extra costs due to my child's extra care needs. How can I increase my income?

There are different forms of financial help that you may be able to get, some are listed below.

  • Benefits and tax credits. There are a range of benefits and tax credits for families caring for a disabled child. See our web pages on benefits and tax credits.
  • Grants from charities (UK-wide) Some charities provide grants for families with a disabled child including, for example, help with household items and disability equipment. Call the helpline for a list of grant-giving organisations.
  • Housing adaptations (UK-wide) You may be able to get a grant or other financial assistance from your council to adapt your home to meet your child's needs. See our guide for parents on Aids, equipment and adaptations [PDF]
  • Employment rights and tax   Get advice on whether you are getting the correct tax allowances and being paid at least the minimum wage. Visit Citizens Advice's information for further advice.

I've had trouble paying my rent and now I've got into arrears. Is it true money can be deducted from my benefits to pay off my arrears?

  • Yes, you can have a fixed amount deducted from certain benefits and paid to a landlord to help cover the arrears. You can ask the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to see if this can be arranged. This can be done for other arrears too, for example, fuel arrears. Take further advice from our freephone helpline on 0808 808 3555.

Here are some other points to think about if you have rent arrears.

  • Check your entitlement to housing benefit to help pay your rent if you are on benefits or on a low income.
  • If your housing benefit does not cover the whole of your rent and you can't afford the difference, you might be able to get discretionary housing payments from your council. These are extra payments to help you pay your rent. Take advice from our freephone helpline.

If you'd like to know more

Call the national freephone helpline on 0808 808 3555 or email