Sources of financial support
You might be entitled to financial support to help with the extra costs of raising a disabled child. Below we've listed some ways you could increase your income or make savings.
Benefits and tax credits
There are a number of benefits and tax credits that you may be entitled to. Some benefits can be paid because your child is disabled while others may be paid to you for other reasons.
Grants - please check eligibility criteria before applying for any financial help
Before looking into grants or funding, you might be better having a benefits check to make sure you're claiming what you're entitled to. Visit our benefit pages to find out more.
Contact does not give grants or financial help.
You might be able to find financial help by using the Turn2Us grants search tool.
We have a list of charities that offer grants and funding for certain occupations, disabilities or geographical areas. Many charities do not accept applications directly from individual families and you may need a professional such as a GP, teacher or social worker to make the initial application.
Please visit the following links for:
- A list of charities and trusts that might give general grants to families with disabled children - these may help with household items, specialist equipment and holidays
- A list of charities and trusts that might give educational grants to families with disabled children - these may help with one-off grants for books, equipment and other student expenses
You may also find sources of help from the following:
Local authority support
In England, local welfare assistance schemes (LWAS), run by local councils, may be able to help you if you are in financial hardship following an unseen event or emergency and you have no other source of help.
The local welfare assistance scheme in Wales is a single, national scheme for the whole country and is called the Discretionary Assistance Fund.
In Northern Ireland you can
apply for Discretionary Help from the Finance Support
In Scotland there is a
nationwide system of grants under Scottish Welfare.
Information about all these schemes can be found by visiting the Child Povery Action Group website.
Disability Reduction Scheme
This is a non means-tested reduction on the council tax bill for people who either:
- Use a wheelchair indoors
- Have an extra bathroom or kitchen in the house for a disabled occupier
- Have set aside a room for a disabled person, for example, using a dining room to store equipment
Information about the Disability Reduction Scheme is in our factsheet Help with Council tax bills.
Council tax discount
Your council tax bill is reduced by 25% (50% in some cases) if there are fewer than two adults in your household. The presence of children and certain adults (including some carers) can be ignored.
Information about the council tax discount is in our factsheet Help with council tax bills [PDF].
Free school meals
If your child is registered at a maintained school, the education authority must provide a free midday meal if you claim certain benefits. In some parts of the UK certain other young school children also qualify.
Education authorities (or children's departments) have discretion to help with the cost of school clothing for pupils in maintained schools.
In Wales, a grant for uniforms is available to pupils entering Year 7 who are eligible for free school meals. It is also available for pupils aged 11 at the start of the school year who go to a special school, special needs resource base or pupil referral unit, and who are also eligible for free school meals.
Education authorities must provide transport or help with the costs if it is necessary to help a child get to the nearest suitable school. Find out more about school transport.
Visiting a child at a special school
Education authorities have discretion to pay some or all of the fares of parents visiting children at a special school a long way from home.
Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) - Wales and Scotland
A weekly payment for 16-18 year olds (and some 19 year olds) who stay on at school/college or who undertake certain types of unwaged training.
The amount awarded depends on parental income.
16-19 bursary - England only
EMA in England was replaced by the 16-19 bursary scheme. There are two types of bursary. The first is a discretionary bursary for which any young person can apply. However, whether you receive a payment is at the discretion of your school or college.
There is also a vulnerable student bursary of £1,200 per year for certain groups, including disabled students who receive both DLA and Employment and Support Allowance (or Universal Credit). This may be paid in kind rather than in cash.
Health and social care costs
NHS costs, glasses, hospital fares, free prescriptions
There are a range of benefits for prescription costs, glasses, going to hospital for treatment (including accompanying a child) and certain dental costs. The criteria are different for each.
Personal budgets and direct payments
Local authorities might offer families the option of a personal or individual budget to pay for a child's eligible needs. Find out more about personal budgets and direct payments.
In the home
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. Visit our page on aids and adaptations to find out more.
You might also be eligible for help to make your own more energy efficient. Find out more on making home improvements to keep bills down.
There are a number of schemes to help low income households pay their fuel and water bills. Find out more about financial help with water and fuel bills.
If you, or someone you live with is registered blind or severely sight impaired, you qualify for a 50 per cent reduction on the cost of your TV licence. If the person who is registered blind is not the current licence holder, you will need to transfer the licence into their name first.
Out and about
Many major attractions and organisations in the UK allow free entry to a parent or carer accompanying a disabled person. It's always worth asking if a discount is available.
The Max Card is a local authority-commissioned card scheme for disabled children (ages 0-19). It offers families discounted access to UK attractions. If your local authority funds the scheme you will be able to access a free card. To find out if you're eligible, see www.mymaxcard.co.uk.
The Cinema Exhibitors' Association Card is a UK-wide card scheme for participating cinemas. If you or your child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance or a registered blind person, the card entitles you to one free ticket for a person to go to the cinema with you. The card currently costs £6 a year. Visit www.ceacard.co.uk.
Visit our page on transport and getting around to see what financial support your child and family might be entitled to.