On this page you will find advice and guidance about the main types of financial support that are available to disabled children, young people and their families.
You can claim different benefits at different times in your life. The benefits you claim will be dependent on you and your family’s circumstances.
Money and funding can be difficult to understand because it is different for everyone.
This page offers information on different websites and services where you can find information, advice and support in relation to money and SEND. As well as useful guides such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP) easy read guide, Mencap easy read guides on money and benefits – see the useful links section for more!
What can it be used for?
When applying, think about what would make a difference to you and your child. We consider grant requests in order of priority. If you would like to ask for more than one item, make sure you tell us what is the most important item first.
- Clothing, Family breaks, Computer equipment, Days out, Recreational activities, Appliances, Sensory toys, Games, consoles and books, Music, Outdoor play equipment, Travel insurance, Specialist toys, Garden improvements, Driving and Pets
You can apply to Family Fund if:
- You live in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales (Please note: If you are a family living in Wales, please visit our Wales application pages to apply.)
- You are the parent or carer of a disabled or seriously ill child or young person aged 0-17 who lives with you.
- You are currently living in the UK and done so for at least six months, or three months if your child is less than six months old. You are eligible to work and apply for public funds.
- Your child is not in Local Authority care.
- You have evidence of entitlement to any one of the following:
- Universal Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income Related Employment Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Pension Credit.
- Your child or young person has additional support needs arising from a long term disability or disabling condition or a serious or life threatening illness. By long term we mean lasting or likely to last 12 months or more.
Child and young person eligibility criteria
Family Fund uses a social model of disability.
Children and young people do not need a diagnosis to meet Family Fund criteria; but their additional support needs must arise from a disability or disabling condition.
Children and young people with additional support needs arising from a disability or disabling condition or with a serious or life threatening illness meet this criteria where:
- There is evidence that their additional needs impact on family’s choices and their opportunity to enjoy ordinary life; the degree of planning and support required to meet their needs are much greater than that usually required to meet the needs of children.
- They require a high level of support in three or more of Family Fund’s seven areas of support descriptors below.
- Their condition is long term or life limiting (by long term we mean lasting or likely to last 12 months or more).
Family Fund seven areas of support
Your child should require support in at least three of the seven areas below:
- Personal care, supervision and vigilance – we mean things like feeding, washing, toileting; a very high level of supervision
- Access to social activities – we mean things like engaging socially and taking part in activities
- Education – we mean the type of support that is given for learning and who gives it?
- Communication – we mean listening, speaking and understanding
- Therapy and medical treatment – we mean what treatment or therapy is given, who does this, how often and when?
- Specialist resources used - we mean things like wheelchair, oxygen, screen magnifier, electronic communication aid
- The physical environment – we mean support with getting around and keeping safe.
You must also meet all of our general eligibility criteria.
Disability living allowance can be claimed if you have a disabled child. You will need to demonstrate that your child needs a lot more help or supervision than other children of the same age, such as needing help with personal care, walking difficulties or a learning disability for three months and is likely to need this help, or have these difficulties, for at least another six months.
The DLA rate depends on the level of help the child needs; the child may need an assessment.
If you/your child is over 16 they can apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which aims to help with some of the costs caused by long term ill-health or disability. The amount received is based on an assessment to determine how you/your child’s condition affects you/them and the level of support you/they need.
For more information
Need help to make a claim? - Cerebra Disability Living Allowance Guide is a step-by-step guide to the application form
A personal budget is funding which is allocated to an individual for the help and support they need. Individuals can choose to take their personal budget, or part of it, as a direct cash payment, which they can spend on services, or if they wish they can choose to let the Council arrange the services they require.
A Personal Budget can be used to access services from the statutory and independent or voluntary sector providers, mixing and matching what is available from organisations to best meet your child or young person’s needs. Further information can be found on the Cornwall Council website.
Direct Payments are payments that are paid to the parent or carer of a disabled child, or to a disabled young person up to 18 years of age. It enables them to either arrange and pay for their own support and services or to receive support from an independent sector provider. Further information can also be found on the Cornwall Council website.
For information on finding and employing a PA with your personal budget, see the Disability Rights UK factsheet.
Carer’s Allowance (CA) is claimable if you are taking care of someone for at least 35 hours a week.
Carers Allowance is taxable and can affect your other benefits. Any means-tested benefits you get will be reduced by the same amount you get from Carer’s Allowance.
To work out how your benefits are calculated you can use the Gov.uk benefit calculator.
Charity Grants: Also, to help with the additional costs of equipment, short breaks, technology, furniture etc, some charities provide grants to eligible families. To find out about grants available, try contacting a charity that specialises in your child’s condition, they may offer funding or know of charities that do.
Other places to try