Benefits for children with disabilities or additional needs

Many parents of children with additional needs are unaware that they may be entitled to financial support.

Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment

Children under 16 with a disability or additional needs may be entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA), while those over 16 can receive Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The amount received will depend on the condition and how it affects the child.

Depending on household circumstances, entitlement to DLA or PIP can also have a positive effect on entitlement to other benefits such as Universal Credit, Tax Credits and Carers Allowance.

Higher payments of other benefits

As soon as possible after receiving a positive DLA or PIP decision you should contact whoever pays your current benefits to tell them you’re now getting DLA or PIP, as this could result in you getting higher payments of the following:

  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit.

Inform Universal Credit of the change of circumstances through your Universal Credit account. If you are receiving Tax Credits, inform HMRC via their online portal or the Tax Credit helpline 0345 300 3900. When you contact them ask if there is any additional support DLA or PIP entitles you to. They may need details from the decision letter so you should have it available when you call.

You’ll be exempt from the ‘benefit cap’ which limits the amount of benefit payments a household can receive, and also may be eligible for help towards your household rates if you have made any adaptations to your home to meet the needs of the person with the disability.

If you do not currently receive any benefits

The awarding of a disability benefit is a significant change in circumstances. The entitlement to DLA or PIP has the effect of increasing the income threshold for means-tested benefits. This means that households with a higher income, and who would not otherwise be eligible, can qualify for support.

You should contact an independent benefits advisor who can check if this change means that your household has now become entitled to any other benefits, such as Universal Credit.

Carer’s Allowance and Carer Element

Parents and others who care for someone in receipt of DLA or PIP could be eligible to receive Carer’s Allowance, which is paid weekly at a rate of £76.75. Eligibility depends on both the circumstances of the carer and those of the person being cared for.

If the carer is in receipt of Universal Credit and is in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, or would be in receipt of Carers Allowance if it weren’t for their income being too high, they may be eligible for an additional Carer Element of Universal Credit of £185.86 per month.

For a couple with one partner working and the other not working but in receipt of Carers Allowance they can meet the criteria for financial support with their registered childcare costs which otherwise require both members in a couple to be working.

Further information

For personalised advice on what support your family may be entitled to, contact the Family Benefits Advice Service on 028 9267 8200 or email