Babies who are born premature or sick sometimes start life with a disability. In this section you will find information about the help and benefits that are available for families with a disabled child.
Think carefully about whether this could apply to your child. For example, if he/she went home on oxygen, he/she would be classed as disabled. Make sure you also read our section on financial advice for families. If your child is disabled, you may get some of the benefits listed there at a higher rate. It is important to apply straight away if you think you are entitled to a benefit - delaying may mean you miss out on this entitlement.
The benefits system is complicated, especially if you are claiming for a disabled child. It is advisable to seek independent expert advice on this matter.
Hospital staff or the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) might know about other people who can help you claim benefits. If your baby has a disability, ask the hospital team if they can refer you to a social worker who can support you with your claim. A social worker can also help you get the care and educational support your child will need over the longer term.
The charity Contact a Family provides support to all families with disabled children. It puts families in touch with one another for mutual support. It can also refer you to other charities that specialise in your child’s specific disability or health condition, if this would be helpful to you. Contact a Family can provide information about medical conditions, claiming benefits, social services, education and your family’s rights.
The Citizens Advice Bureau is another good place to go to for advice about disability rights and benefits. Your council (local authority) should also be able to advise you about benefits for disabled people.