Raising a disabled child is very expensive.

I was admiring someone’s lightweight wheelchair the other day and was shocked to hear it set him back £4000! 

I feel very lucky that we have the NHS here in England. We are also lucky to be able to get financial help.

The frustrating thing is it is quite hard to find out what’s out there and you may be surprised on what help you could be missing out on – so here is everything we have found out our daughter is entitled to, none of them are means tested.

There may very well be things we have don’t know about out there!

Disability Living Allowance/ Carers Allowance 
This is probably the one that everyone knows about as I found that doctors are quite good at ensuring you know!

Any child that needs looking after more than others their age or who have difficulty walking is entitled to DLA. It is between £21.55 and £138.05 per week. It is made up of a care component and a mobility component.

If a child is receiving the high level of mobility component when they turn 3, you can use this money towards leasing a car suitable for their wheelchair or special needs.

The tax, breakdown cover, repairs and insurance is covered on this vehicle and so you only pay for fuel.

Carers allowance is available if you care for someone receiving DLA for more the 35 hours a week, you can get it for caring for your own child and is £61.35 a week.

Council Tax Reductions
We only found out about this recently and are still in the process of applying so I am unsure of what the reduction is, although I believe it may go down a band.

If you have a house which you purchased because you need the extra room i.e. for storing equipment or because you needed a downstairs bathroom or you have extra space to get a wheelchair around then you may qualify for a Council Tax Reduction.

The house needs to be the main home for at least one disabled person and this can be a child.

VAT Relief 
You should not pay VAT on any item that is for the own personal use of a disabled person, for example a wheelchair or perhaps building-work like installing a ramp but it also applies to small products such as those on the Firefly website.

You normally have to fill out a form for this to apply. 

Disabled Facilities Grant
If you need to adapt your house in some way, like installing a downstairs bathroom or making the doorways wider or the front of the house more accessible then your local council may pay for this.

The child’s OT is most likely to get this arranged for you if needed – It’s an extremely slow and complicated process but it is definitely worth it.

I think you have to sign an agreement to say you will stay in the house for at least 5 years after the work is completed.

The CEA Card
This is a card for children over 8 which gets them a carer into the Cinema for free.

Over 90% of cinemas in the UK accept this card and it can be applied for online.

Short Break Services
Short breaks is available through your local council.

They will fund your child a certain amount of money over the year to do something so that you can have a break.

You can use the money to pay for an out of school club or a childminder but can also use the money towards an activity.

For example, Bella uses hers for one-to-one swimming lessons.

Childcare
All 3 and 4 year olds, not just those with special needs are entitled to 15 hours free education for 38 weeks of the year.

Blue Badge
As well as being able to use disabled car parking spaces, the blue badge also means you can park for free in a lot of places (we save £9 per hospital trip now!) but it is also an easy proof of disability.

For example, we use it at theme parks or places that offer a free carer because it has Bella’s photo on it we have a proof of disability with us.

That’s all the money help we have found so far, I am sure there is probably more out there but finding it is not easy – I hope that someone reading this has found something new which means they can worry a little less and enjoy Christmas a little more!

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