Disability Benefits

There are a wide range of social security benefits that parents who have children with JIA can claim – if they are eligible.

If you are caring for a disabled child, you may be eligible for cash benefits so check you are getting all that you are entitled to:
– Invalid Care Allowance (ICA)
– Fares to hospital
– Family Credit
– Income Support
– Social Fund
– Housing Benefit
– Council Tax Benefit

Further benefits at 16:
– Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA)
– Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
– Disability Working Allowance (DWA)

Which Benefit?

All benefits require a claim to be made either in writing or in person at your local Benefits Agency office. You can find the address in the phone book under Benefits Agency or perhaps in the community pages of the local services directory.

You can usually pick up the specific claim form for the different benefits from Benefits Agency offices, post offices, local Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABx) and other advice agencies.

Don’t delay in getting your claim in. Be frank about your child’s needs, and don’t be put off by the length of claim forms. Make sure you answer all the questions and seek help if you need it in making your application. The Benefits Agency offers a free enquiry line. For this and others sources of help see page 35. Arthritis Care and Children’s Chronic Arthritis Association can also offer help with benefits advice and applications.

Outline information on the benefits to which you may be entitled is listed here. The different benefits and their qualifying rules can be confusing, so seek advice to make sure you have the right benefits to which you are entitled and on the best way to present your circumstances when applying, equally you should seek advice on how to challenge any unfavourable decisions.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if you’re aged 16 to 64.

The rate depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is ending for people who were born after 8 April 1948 and are 16 or over.

You’ll continue to get DLA until the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) writes to you to:
• tell you when it will end
• invite you to apply for PIP

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Is a tax-free non-means-tested social security benefit for people with disabilities. It is for people who need help looking after themselves (care) or to get around (mobility). DLA is divided into care and mobility components which are paid at different rates.
The DLA care component can be paid from three months old but carers have to show that the care or supervision s/he needs is more than that which a non-disabled child of the same age would need. Children under five rarely qualify for the lower care component as they need more supervision than is normally required at their age. Claim at least three months before your child’s fifth birthday to avoid any delay.

If your child gets the higher rate DLA mobility component, you should be sent a Road Tax Exemption (Vehicle Excise Duty) form by the DSS. It is important to complete and return this to the address given on the form if you wish to claim exemption from the payment of road tax.

Invalid Care Allowance (ICA)

Is a weekly benefit for women and men under 65, whether married or single who are caring for a severely disabled person/child for at least 35 hours a week. The person/child they care for must receive DLA at the higher or middle rate. The person claiming CA must not earn more than a weekly limit (ESO from 1 April 1997) after deductions. There are additional rules around earnings of a partner which may affect this amount. It does not matter whether a carer is related to or living with a disabled child.

Income Support (IS)

Is paid to provide a basic income to help people who work less than 16 hours a week. This is a means-tested benefit. It is calculated by comparing your weekly income, if any, to a set rate called your ‘applicable amount’ based on certain personal circumstances. There are weekly additions called ‘Premiums’ for those with extra needs, such as people with children.

Family Premium is paid if you have at least one child. Disabled Child Premium is paid if you have a child who is getting DLA care or mobility components at any rate. Lone Parent Premium is paid if you are bringing up one or more children on your own. People who get Income Support are automatically entitled to maximum housing benefit, council tax benefit, certain social fund payments free school meals and help with other costs, such as free prescriptions and the cost of travelling to hospital.

If you get Income Support you may be able to get a Community Care Grant to pay for certain items which you cannot afford out of your weekly benefit. Any savings you have over £500 may be deducted from the grant. If you are turned down for a grant, you could be offered a loan instead. If you accept this, it will have to be paid back out of your weekly benefit.

Tax Credits

Tax credits are state benefits that provide extra money to people responsible for children, disabled workers and other workers on lower incomes.

There are two types of tax credits – child tax credits and working tax credits. You can find out more about each type of tax credit on the relevant page of HMRC website. You might be eligible for one or both of them, depending on your circumstances.

Tax credits are tax-free and you don’t have to be paying National Insurance or tax to qualify, but they are means-tested. So, whether you qualify and how much you get depends on your household’s income and circumstances.

Tax Credits (if you have children)

If you have one child you may be eligible for some tax credits if your household income for tax credits purposes is less than £26,200 a year before tax, or £32,900 if you have two children or more. Childcare expenditure may entitle you to tax credit if your income is higher than this.

NOTE: Tax Credits are due to be replaced by Universal Credit. Transitional arrangements will apply. Full details are yet to be announced.

Family Credit (FC)

Is an income-related weekly benefit for couples or single parents with dependent children who work at least 16 hours a week. Your savings cannot be more than £8,000.

The amount of Family Credit depends on the number of children you have, how old your children are and how much your income is. If you qualify for Family Credit, you are automatically entitled to certain other types of help. These include dental treatment, fares to hospital and vouchers for glasses but not free school meals.

Further benefits at 16

At the age of 16 young people can claim most benefits in their own right. Even if their family was formerly claiming for them, everyone is likely to be better off if you claim in your own right at 16.

You can also claim PIP in your own name. You can use the ‘higher rate’ mobility component to obtain a car through the Motability Scheme. You may be able to claim Income Support (IS) either on its own or to ‘top up’ PIP. Both these benefits can be claimed while you are still at school or in further education. If you get PIP or IS, you will get the Disability Premium.

Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA)

Provides a basic income for those who are unable to work because of a disability. If you are under 20 you only need to show you are ‘incapable of work’. You can get SDA even if you are still at school depending on the type and hours of schooling.