Suffolk Advice and Support Service Helpline: 0800 068 3131 for free professional advice.
We recommend you contact any activity or group before attending
If you have a disabled child or young person you or your young person may be entitled to national and local financial support.
The information below provides advice about your rights and entitlements, tips on managing your money and who to talk to if you need support.
The list below provides information on what benefits are available, 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.
For free advice and guidance on the full range of benefits you may be entitled to please visit your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Disability Living Allowance
Many disabled children qualify for Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The care component of DLA can be paid from the first few months of life. The high rate of mobility component can be paid from the age of 3, and the lower rate from the age of 5.
DLA for a child is normally paid to the parent. When the young person reaches the age of 16 the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) should check whether the young person is capable of managing the money for him or herself. If this is not possible the parent or some other person should be their appointee to manage their affairs. It is likely that the DLA award will come to an end from the 16th birthday and the family will be invited to apply for the Personal Independence Payment.
Personal Independence Payment
From June 2013 Disability Living Allowance started to be replaced for people aged 16 and above by the new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP). There can be no more new claims for Disability Living Allowance from working age adults. Instead they can claim Personal Independence Payment.
When an award of DLA is due to run out (including when a child with DLA reaches the age of 16), people may not be able to renew their DLA claim but instead will be invited to claim PIP. From October 2015 the Department for Work and Pensions started reviewing all adult DLA awards.
Personal Independence Payment is similar to Disability Living Allowance. It has a ‘daily living’ component and a mobility component. The claiming and assessment process is different. Most applicants have to undergo a medical assessment.
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
Disabled student allowance
This is intended to help students attending full-time and part-time higher education courses benefit as fully as possible from their course and is designed to cover special equipment, non-medical helpers and other general expenses. See the GOV.UK disabled student allowance web page for more information.
High Needs Funding
High needs funding is intended to provide the most appropriate support package for children and young people (from early years up to aged 25) with special educational needs and disabilities in a range of settings, taking account of parental and student choice.
All mainstream schools have money for special educational needs support and resources. Schools can decide how to spend this money. Schools should use some of their budget to buy resources and make provision for children who need additional help.
Schools also receive funding called 'pupil premium' (pupil premium plus for children looked after), used to close the attainment gaps and improve social & emotional wellbeing for disadvantaged children.
Free school meals
To find out if your child is eligible for free school meals and to apply, please visit the Suffolk County Council website.
Guidance for post-16 learners is available on the Gov.uk website.
Where a child or young person is placed in a particular educational setting as a result of their identified SEN, the Local Authority will advise if travel will be available in line with statutory requirements.
Please see our Travel and Transport page for more information and criteria.
Bus pass / companion card
If you’re eligible you can get up to a third off rail tickets by applying for a disabled person’s railcard. You must provide evidence of a relevant disability.
You can give National Rail train companies advance notice if you think you’ll need any help from staff.
You can also check if a station has accessible facilities.
The Blue Badge scheme helps those with severe mobility problems who have difficulty using public transport to park close to where they need to go.
To check if you are eligible, apply or renew please visit the Suffolk County Council website.
New legislation - Hidden Disabilities
People with Hidden Disabilities including autism and mental health conditions may be eligible for a Blue Badge under this new criterion in 2019. The Department for Transport is currently processing changes before the new legislation can come into force.
A young person aged 16-19 can get an Endeavour Card so they can receive up to 25% discount on the cost of travel on most local bus services.