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Benefits, Grants and Funding

Government Funding and Benefits


If you have a disabled child under 16, you may be able to claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for them.  DLA has two components. The care component can be claimed from 3 months if your child has care needs which are more than most children of their age. The mobility component can be claimed from 3 years if your child has problems with getting around. If your child is 16 or over they may be able to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead of DLA. DLA and PIP are complex benefits, but also work as ‘passports’ to other benefits.

Click here for the government information about DLA. Please do get in contact with us at Sunshine and Smiles for help and advice on applying for DLA. 

This link is a video guide for completing a DLA form for children made by Carers Leeds and Irwin Mitchell - it's quite long but families who have used it have found it really helpful!

Also other links to helpful guides regarding DLA for children with learning needs: 

A step by step guide by an organisation called 'Sky Badger' on filling out the DLA form

A guide to DLA by Cerebra

Information on DLA from Contact


Universal Credit

If you are on a low income and you are not already claiming Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit or tax credits, you could consider claiming Universal Credit (UC). It can include extra amounts for a disabled child who is on DLA or PIP, called a disabled child element.

Here is the government information on Universal Credit


Carer’s allowance

If you are a carer for your disabled child and they get the middle or higher rate care component of DLA, or the daily living component of PIP, you may be able to get Carer’s Allowance. If you are thinking of taking up work you may want to consider the effect it may have on your entitlement to Carer’s Allowance. 

Here is the government information on Carer's Allowance 


Tax credits 

Child Tax Credit is a benefit for people on low incomes responsible for children. You can only get this if you have an existing Child tax credit or Working tax credit claim, otherwise you should claim Universal Credit instead. You may get more Child Tax Credit if your child gets DLA or PIP. Make sure you tell the Tax Credit Office what rate of DLA or PIP your child is getting. 

Here is the government infomation about Child Tax Credit


Housing Benefit and Council tax reduction

You can no longer make a new claim for Housing benefit, otherwise you should claim universal credit instead. If you are already on housing benefit, the calculation will be different if your children are on DLA or PIP, so make sure the local authority know about this. In addition, the number of bedrooms allowed for in the Housing Benefit (HB) calculation could be higher if your children are unable to share a room because of disability and they are on DLA or PIP. Again make sure the local authority are aware.

Here is the government information about Housing Benefit

Here is some useful information about Council Tax Reduction


Council Funding and Benefits

Max Card

A discount card for families of children with additional needs on attractions across the UK. Sunshine and Smiles can provide your family with a discount card, just call or email us. The max card website is useful for finding out where you can use your max card. 


Blue badge

- This is a permit for those with disabilities which allows them to park nearer to where they need to go. If your child receives higher rate mobility component for DLA they can apply for a blue badge. Other factors linked to Down Syndrome may also make your child eligible, please contact us for advice if you’re not sure. 

Here is the council information about applying for a blue badge. 


Charity Grants and benefits

This page gives details of various grants you can apply for, for children and young people with disabilities. 

Family Fund

Family Fund is a charity which gives discretionary grants to families with severely disabled children under 18, for things not supplied by statutory authorities. Usually the grants are made to families on benefits, but the fund may also be able to help other families on low incomes.


Practical support and activities 

Short breaks

Short breaks give children and young people with special education needs or disabilities (SEND) the chance to have fun and socialise away from home.


Leeds Local offer

The Leeds Local Offer provides information for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their parents or carers in a single place. It shows families what they can expect from a range of local agencies including education, health and social care.


Child health and disability service (CHAD)

The Child Health and Disability Service, often known as CHAD, is made up of a number of teams working with children and young people aged 0-18 with complex health needs and disabilities, where their disability has an impact on their ability to be safe, develop skills for life and be part of their local communities growing up


Leeds Mencap 

Leeds Mencap provide services and activities to improve the lives and opportunities of children and adults with a learning disability along with their families and carers.

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