Benefits & tax credits

If you have a disabled child, you may be entitled to certain benefits and tax credits that may help with the extra costs you face.

In this article

Covid-19 and welfare benefits

There have already been a number of changes to the benefits system in response to the current outbreak.

See our page answering some of the common questions about benefits that parents with a disabled child might have.

Eligibility criteria

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. For example, you may be getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for your child and Carer’s Allowance as their carer.

Each benefit and tax credit has its own set of eligibility criteria. This means you need to meet certain conditions to qualify.

  • To claim contribution-based benefits you need to have paid national insurance contributions in the past.
  • To claim means-tested benefits you must be on a low income, with savings of less than a certain amount.
  • To get tax credits you must either have children or be in work – and the amount will depend on the household income but not savings.
  • For non-means-tested benefits like DLA, the claimant will need to meet criteria not related to work, income or savings.

Find out more about benefits in work.

When to claim

When you know which benefit or tax credit to claim, phone the appropriate office straight away. It is difficult to get awards backdated.

Some benefits (for example Disability Living Allowance (DLA) ) can’t be paid for a period before the date you claimed, no matter what the circumstances. So long as you are not subject to immigration control, you should claim now, even if you are not sure you qualify, as you could miss out if you delay.

How are benefits paid?

Some benefits are paid as tax credits by HM Revenue and Customs. Different offices of the Department for Work and Pensions (Social Security Agency in Northern Ireland) pay most other benefits. However, housing and council tax benefits are paid by your local authority (Housing Executive in Northern Ireland). 

Benefits and tax credits are usually paid directly into a parent’s bank account. Any benefits for your child – such as DLA and child benefit – will be paid to you as their parent. When your child reaches 16 years they may be able to claim benefits in their own right.

Future changes

Most people who want to make a new claim for a means-tested benefit need to claim Universal Credit instead. Currently this only affects new claimants and not existing claimants. The government eventually plans to move all existing means tested benefits claimants onto Universal credit as well, but these plans have been suspended due to the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Between 2020 and 2022 the Scottish Government will be introducing new devolved disability and carers benefits in Scotland. These will replace Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Carer’s Allowance.  

Get a benefits check

Use our Turn2Us online benefits calculator, contact our freephone national helpline or your local Citizens Advice Bureau or welfare rights unit to carry out a full benefits check for you.

In this section: benefits you might be entitled to

Browse the menu on the left-hand side for up-to-date information on the benefits you might be entitled to.

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