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Money matters

Managing your money can be daunting, the information below provides advice about your rights and entitlements, tips on managing your money and who to talk to for financial advice.

Personal budgets

The Children and Families Act 2014 outlines new processes to help children with special educational needs and/or disabilities. The act includes a duty on the local authority to consider a personal budget when requested by a parent or young person following the completion of an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment, or during an Annual Review.

A personal budget is an amount of money that is identified to deliver all or some of the provision set out in your education, health and care plan.

Personal budgets will be discussed with the young person and their family by the professional co-ordinating the EHC plan; for example a special needs officer, health worker or social worker. The provisional amount that may be available as a personal budget will be discussed with you, taking into account the level of need in line with the outcomes set in your plan. The final amount for a Personal Budget will be discussed and agreed by the EHC multi-agency panel.

When making its decision, the multi-agency panel will consider whether it is cost effective to give a Personal Budget, for example where a provision is delivered in a group setting it is not financially viable to deliver this provision on a one to one basis. It will also consider whether it would result in additional cost to the local authority, health or social care, for example where a young person uses equipment that is shared by others, which would mean a duplication of funding.

If you think you may need help, support or information you should contact Customer First who will offer you information and advice.

Managing a personal budget

Personal budgets and direct payments may give you more choice and control over the support you and your child receive. Below is a list of ways the money can be handled;

  • Direct payments – individuals receive the money to contract, purchase and manage the budget themselves
  • Notional arrangement – the local authority, school or college, or help retains the funds and commissions the support specified in the plan
  • Third party – the direct payments are paid to and managed by an individual or organisation on behalf of the parent or young person
  • Or any combination of the above

Benefits

To find out what benefits you may be entitled to, how to apply and where to get help in applying, please visit the the GOV.UK website.

These include benefits for families, carers, jobseekers and allowances relating to disability, death, heating, housing and low income.

For free advice and guidance on the full range of benefits you may be entitled to please visit your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

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