Information and advice

As a parent or carer of a young person with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) it can be difficult navigating the benefits system and understanding what your child is entitled to.  

The support received by a child or young person with a learning disability will vary depending on their needs. 

We’ve put together a series of events, resources, support and information to help ensure your child has access to the support they need.  

Knowing how to navigate DLA for my child has been so valuable

Events

We have partnered with Citizens Advice Arun and Chichester and The Aldingbourne Trust to deliver free online webinars on disability benefits to help parents and carers of children and young people with SEND.

These will help people to apply successfully for Disability Living Allowance (DLA), so they can access vital help to improve the young person’s independence.

The aim of these webinars is to help parents and carers when it comes to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) form-filling, so they better understand eligibility to receive DLA and will offer the opportunity to learn more about how to fill the application out themselves, as well as gain awareness for other disability benefits available.    

These webinars are in group session format, of no more than 8 people a session. They will run for 90 minutes and take place on Zoom.  

We have sessions running in May and June.

You can also find the tools and resources for the events available below.  

Resources tools:

  • Presentation – Couldn’t make the webinar? Check out the presentation. 
  • TipsRead these general top tips from Contact on completing the DLA form, along with brief explanations of some of the more difficult parts of the form and the kind of information to include. 
  • VideoWatch this great video which helps explain DLA and what it involves. 
  • Benefits Toolkit – A helpful guide to benefits on offer.
  • DLA Diary Template – Keeping a diary of your child’s care needs before you fill in the DLA claim form can help when it comes to answering the questions. 
  • PIP Diary Template It can help you fill in your PIP claim form or be used as supporting evidence for your claim.

Commonly asked questions:

What is Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and who is it for?

DLA is extra money to help you with everyday life if you have a child under 16 who’s disabled or has a health condition. To be eligible for DLA at least one of the following applies to your child: 

  • They need a lot more care, attention or supervision than a child of the same age who isn’t disabled 
  • They have difficulty walking or getting around outdoors in unfamiliar places, compared to a child of the same age who isn’t disabled
How much DLA can I get for my child?

You can get between £23.70 and £152.15 a week DLA to help look after your child who has a disability or health condition. 

DLA isn’t means tested, so how much you earn doesn’t impact how much you can get. 

The money can be spent on anything.

How is DLA worked out?

The amount of DLA you get is made up of 2 parts called ‘components’ – the ‘care component’ and the ‘mobility component’. Each component is paid at different rates.

You might get one or both components, depending on the type of care your child needs. 

The care component is based on how much care and supervision your child needs because of their condition.

The mobility component is based on your child’s ability to walk and how hard they find it to get around places that they don’t know well.

What is Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and who is it for?
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is extra money to help you with everyday life if you have an illness, disability or mental health condition. You don’t need to have worked or paid National Insurance to qualify for PIP, and it doesn’t matter what your income is, if you have any savings or you’re working.
How much PIP can you get?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) makes the decision about the amount of PIP you get and for how long. We can’t say exactly what you’ll get before you apply because the DWP bases the amount you get on your application, and the length of your award on the likelihood of your condition changing.

How is my PIP claim assessed?

To get the daily living component of PIP, you must have a physical or mental condition that limits your ability to carry out some or all of these activities:

  • preparing food
  • eating and drinking
  • managing your treatments
  • washing and bathing
  • managing toilet needs or incontinence
  • dressing and undressing
  • communicating verbally 
  • reading and understanding written information
  • mixing with others
  • making decisions about money

To get the mobility component of PIP, you must have a physical or mental condition that limits your ability to carry out some or all of these activities:

  • planning and following journeys
  • moving around
How is PIP worked out?

PIP is made up of 2 parts called daily living and mobility, and each can be paid at either a standard or enhanced rate.

Daily living component is for the extra help you need with everyday tasks. This can include preparing food, washing, getting dressed or communicating with other people.

Mobility component is for the extra help you need getting around. This can include moving, planning a journey or following a route.

Top Tips:

Top tips for making a child DLA claim
  • The form is lengthy, so set aside a couple of sessions to do it rather than trying to fill it all out in one go.
  • Do read the information booklet provided with the form.
  • Include details about the help or support that your child needs, whether they get it or not.
  • Don’t play down your child’s condition and include the bad days, as well as the better days. The person reading the form does not know your child or young person, so if it is not documented on the form, they will have no way of knowing about it.
  • You need to show that your child’s needs are over and above other children their age. If you have older children, you can compare their needs at a similar age.
  • Read through all the information once you’ve completed the form. Reflect and see if you can add more information. Remember, the decision maker does not know your child so be as detailed as you can!
  • Keep a copy of the form and any evidence that you’ve sent in for your own records.
Top tips for making a PIP claim
  • PIP is different to child DLA and the rules are completely different. Don’t assume that because your child was eligible for DLA they will automatically qualify for PIP.
  • There are 12 activities and you need to rate your young person’s ability to perform each of these activities to a reliable standard.
  • The form is lengthy, so set aside a couple of sessions to do it rather than trying to fill it all out in one go.
  • Do read the information booklet provided with the form.
  • Include details about the help or support that your young person needs to complete an activity, whether they get it or not.
  • Don’t play down your young person’s condition and include the bad days as well as the better days. The person reading the form does not know your young person, so if it is not documented on the form, they will have no way of knowing about it.
  • Read through all the information once you’ve completed the form. Reflect and see if you can add any additional information. Remember, the decision maker does not know your child so be as detailed as you can!
  • Keep a copy of the form and any evidence that you’ve sent in for your own records.

Other Help:

Blue Badges

You can apply for a blue badge if you care for a child with a health condition that affects their mobility. If you receive DLA or PIP and score certain points within these benefits, you can automatically be eligible for a blue badge. For more information on being eligible for a blue badge, visit Citizens Advice or to apply visit gov.uk

Free school meals

Free school meals are available to children who receive, or whose parents receive, certain benefits. These include Universal Credit (UC), Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance and more. Find out if your child is eligible and apply at gov.uk

Bus travel support

All local authorities operate schemes for disabled people of any age to apply for a bus pass or voucher for free bus travel. In some areas, an essential, named carer accompanying the disabled person is also entitled to free travel. The scheme operates differently from one local authority to another, so get in touch with your local council to check out what’s available in your area. Find out more. 

Help with childcare costs

If you live in England and have a two-year-old who is awarded DLA, this could mean that they qualify for 15 hours a week free early years education and childcare. Find out more. 

Benefits calculator

Our benefits calculator can help you find out what benefits you can claim. The calculator is free to use, available in different languages and the details you provide are anonymous.

This easy tool takes 10 minutes to complete and will tell you what you’re entitled to. Work out your benefits entitlement here.

Help with energy costs

It can be stressful if you are struggling to pay your bills. With colder weather and energy costs on the rise rise, you may be finding it hard to heat your home or are having to choose between heating and eating.

We provide services and advice to help you. Find out more. 

Benefit cap

The benefit cap – or household cap – limits the total amount of benefits that an out-of-work family can receive. 

Some families are exempt from the benefit cap, and this includes anyone who has a dependent child getting DLA or PIP.  Find out more.

Extra benefits you can get

If you get DLA for your child, you might be able to get extra money from other benefits or help with travel, for example, you might not have to pay vehicle tax.

You’ll need your DLA decision letter before you can apply for this extra help – you’ll be sent this when you get a decision on your DLA claim.

Find out more.

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