You may feel that you need to give up work or decrease your hours so that you can spend more time caring for your disabled child. If this is the case, it's worth finding out about any benefits you may be entitled to.
Your local authority should assess whether you need support and what support you need. They must do this when:
- the local authority decides that you, as the parent carer of a disabled child, may have support needs
- the local authority receives a request from you to assess your needs for support
If the local authority has previously assessed your support needs, they will need to carry out another one if your circumstances or your child's circumstances have changed.
Your local authority must assess whether it is appropriate for you to provide care for your child given your own needs, wishes and wellbeing. They must also take into account your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of your disabled child and their siblings.
When assessing you, the local authority must involve you, your child and anyone else whom you wish to be involved. You and anyone else should receive a written record of the assessment, which should include whether the parent and their child have support needs, whether these needs could be met by local authority services, and whether the local authority is able to provide those services.
Find out what to do if you disagree with your local authority's decision.
Benefits for parent carers
If your local authority has assessed you, they may provide advice on the benefits you can apply for. Although many are funded directly by the government and not the local authority, the local authority can help advise you on how and when to apply.
Below are some examples of benefits that parent carers can apply for:
- If your child has a disability, you may be able to claim Disability Living Allowance for Children on their behalf, from the age of three months old until they are 16 years old.
- If you earn less than �102 a week (after tax, national insurance and other allowable deductions such as some childcare) and meet the other criteria, you may also be able to get Carer's Allowance. From April 2015, the threshold is going up to �110.
- You may be able to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant from your local authority. This can help to pay for some adaptations that will make your home more suitable for your child's needs.
- The Family Fund is a charity that gives grants to low income families who have a severely disabled child. You can find the eligibility criteria on the Family Fund 'who we help' page.
The charity Contact a Family also provides advice, information and support to families with disabled children about finances, benefits and debt issues.
Find out more about benefits for carers and the people they care for.
Article provided by NHS Choices