Benefits and financial help for parents of disabled children

This page gives a brief overview of the financial support for parents of disabled children in the UK. 

If you’re the parent or carer of a disabled child, there are several ways you may be able to get help with the extra costs. 

It can be a little confusing and overwhelming. The first step is to work out what you’re entitled to, and how to make your claim. 

Sense is here for you at every stage of life

We support people with complex disabilities of all ages.

From our free play sessions for children under eight, to our adult residential care services, we’re with disabled people and their families every step of the way.

Get in touch with our team to find out how we could support you.

Find out more about disability benefits for children, including:

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

You may be able to claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) if you have a child under 16 who is disabled.

In Scotland, DLA is being replaced with Child Disability Payment. Find out more about the Child Disability Payment.

What is Disability Living Allowance?

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children is a benefit that helps with extra costs if you are looking after a disabled child. 

You may be able to claim it if your child is under 16, and:

  • Has difficulty getting around, and/or
  • Needs more support than a non-disabled child of their age.

Your child doesn’t necessarily need to have a formal diagnosis to apply for DLA. It’s based on the support that your child needs. 

You’ll need to supply examples to show how your child’s condition affects their life.

Find out more about eligibility for DLA. 

How much is Disability Living Allowance?

The DLA rate is between £28.70 and £184.30 a week, and depends on the level of help the child needs.

Apply for Disability Living Allowance

The process of applying for DLA can be really challenging for some families. 

The DLA claim form is 39 pages long. You’ll need to set aside some time to fill it out. The form can’t be completed on a phone or tablet. It’s best to either print it and fill it out by hand, or use a PDF reader (for example, Adobe Acrobat) to fill it out on a computer. You can also request the application form in an accessible format.

You can then send the form by freepost to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 

Find out more about how to apply for DLA for children. 

Get more information about Disability Living Allowance in Northern Ireland. 

The charity Contact offers detailed guidance on how to fill out the DLA claim form. Your local Citizens Advice might also be able to help you with your application. 

My child gets DLA what else am I entitled to?

If your child gets DLA, or the Child Disability Payment in Scotland, you might be entitled to extra money on other benefits you receive. 

These include:

  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

If you spend more than 35 hours a week looking after your child, you might also be eligible for Carer’s Allowance. Find out more about Carer’s Allowance.

If you need more support, get more help with day-to-day costs. 

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for children over 16

When your child turns 16, they will no longer be eligible for DLA. Instead, they should apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). 

Find out more about how to apply for PIP when your child turns 16.

In Scotland, the Child Disability Payment is paid up until your child turns 18.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a monthly payment to support living costs. It’s available for people on low incomes in lots of different circumstances. It’s replacing the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit.
  • Housing Benefit.
  • Income Support.
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
  • Working Tax Credit.

If you already receive any of these benefits, you don’t need to do anything. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will contact you if you’re being moved to Universal Credit.

If you’re not already receiving any of these benefits, you might want to consider applying for Universal Credit. 

Find out more about who is eligible for Universal Credit.

Disability Living Allowance and Universal Credit

If your child gets DLA, or the Child Disability Payment in Scotland, you may also receive the disabled child element of Universal Credit.

This is an extra £156.11 a month if your child is categorised as “disabled”, or £487.58 a month if they are “severely disabled”.

Find out more about what amount of Universal Credit you might be eligible for.

You could also receive extra Universal Credit if you care for your child for more than 35 hours a week. Read more about the carer element of Universal Credit. 

Child Benefit

You might be able to claim Child Benefit if you have a child who is:

  • Under 16, or
  • Under 20 and in approved education or training. 

You don’t get extra Child Benefit if your child is disabled. 

If you live in Scotland and your child is under six years old, you might also be able to claim the Scottish Child Payment

What is Child Benefit?

Child Benefit is a payment made every four weeks to support the costs of raising a child. 

How much is Child Benefit?

You’ll get £25.60 per week for your first child. You can also get £16.95 per week for any additional children.  

Who is entitled to Child Benefit?

Anyone can claim this benefit, but if you or your partner earns over £50,000 individually, you might be taxed on it. It’s best to speak to an adviser to find out what’s best for you. 

You can get Child Benefit if you have a disabled child, but you won’t get extra because of their disability. 

Find out more about Child Benefit at

Child Tax Credit 

Child Tax Credit is a payment to support people on low incomes with children. 

It has been replaced by Universal Credit. This means you can’t make a new claim for Child Tax Credits, unless you are already receiving Working Tax Credits. 

If you’re already receiving Child Tax Credits, you might be able to claim more if you also receive:

  • DLA
  • PIP
  • Child Disability Payment
  • Adult Disability Payment

To work out what’s best for you, it could be helpful to speak to Citizens Advice. You can also use the Turn2Us benefits calculator.

Find out more about Child Tax Credit at

Carer’s Allowance

If you care for your disabled child for more than 35 hours per week, and you earn less than £139 a week, you could be entitled to Carer’s Allowance.

Find out more about Carer’s Allowance and how to claim it.

More help with day-to-day costs

To find out what support is on offer in your local area, find your local council

To figure out what benefits you’re eligible for, use the Turn2Us Benefits Calculator.

Stay in touch

A woman and her son lie on the floor, reading a book. The mother, Sarah, is smiling. The boy, Harry, who has blue glasses and an orange t-shirt on, is concentrating on the book.

Get updates about our vital work, including volunteering, making a donation or supporting Sense campaigns.

This content was last reviewed in April 2024. We’ll review it again next year.