Finances, work and childcare
Evidence from our Counting the Costs campaign finds the main reasons why families are not making a claim for DLA are often linked to misconceptions about DLA eligibility.
- 44 per cent think their child's disability isn't severe enough to claim DLA.
- 24 per cent think they need a diagnosis for their child to claim DLA.
- 18 per cent feel uneasy claiming benefits for their disabled child.
Counting the Costs is our survey conducted every two years into the finances of families with disabled children. In 2014, over 3,500 families helped us identify a sharp rise over the last two years in families going without heating and food.
Find out about our Counting the Costs campaign.
- 83 per cent of families with disabled children say they are going without.
- Of those, 22 per cent say their child's health as worsened as a result.
- 33 per cent say they are worse off as a result of benefit changes.
- Counting the Costs, 2014 Wales [PDF]
- Counting the Costs, 2014 Scotland [PDF]
- Counting the Costs, 2014 Northern Ireland [PDF]
- Counting the Costs, 2012 Wales [PDF]
- Counting the costs, 2012 Scotland [PDF]
- Counting the Costs, 2012 Northern Ireland [PDF]
- Counting the Costs 2012 [PDF]
- Counting the Costs, 2010 [PDF]
- Counting the Costs, 2008 [PDF]
Our partnership campaign with the Family Fund aimed to find out why parents aren't claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for their eligible child. As part of our research, we provided tailored helpline welfare advice to 110 parents, the majority of whom were advised to make a claim for DLA.
- 44 per cent though their child's disabilities wouldn't count.
- 24 per cent thought they needed a diagnosis for their child.
- 18 per cent felt uneasy making a benefits claim for their child.
Stop the DLA Takeaway survey report: fairness for families when their child is in hospital, 2013 [PDF]
The government argues that DLA is no longer needed when a child spends substantial periods in hospital, and for this reason it removes the benefit after 84 days. This survey, conducted with The Children's Trust, provides evidence that this is not the case.
Our research was instrumental in the Mathieson's successful court case against the rules. Find out more about our Stop the DLA Takeway in Hospital campaign.
- Almost all carers (99 per cent) provide more (68 per cent) or the same level of (31 per cent) care when their child is in hospital.
- 93 per cent have increased costs relating to their child's disability when they are staying in hospital.
- 15 per cent have experienced their child's DLA being suspended because they were in hospital for 84 days or more.
Despite a range of government initiatives aimed at reducing child poverty and improving support for disabled children, families continue to experience poverty and social exclusion. With the Child Poverty Action Group, we published research looking at the problems faced by families with disabled children accessing welfare entitlements.
- Access to disability benefits improves childhood experiences and life chances for disabled children.
- Increasing take-up of DLA is an effective way of targeting support to the poorest families.
- Poor service provision compounds problems on a daily basis and generates high levels of stress and ill-health.
Caring for sick or disabled children: parents' experiences of combining work and care, 2006 [PDF] and appendix [PDF]
This study tracked parent carers of sick or disabled children over four years. Commissioned by Carers UK and Contact a Family, as part of the ACE National (Action for Carers and Employment) partnership.
- Most parent carers find caring has an adverse impact on their own employment.
- Many feel forced to look for a different type of work or to change their jobs.
- At work some have been met with ignorance, disrespect or hostility because their need to work flexibly.
This report describes the findings of a two-month consultation of 900 parents in the UK on the theme of flexible working in families where there are one or more disabled children. The aim of the report was to understand some of the barriers to employment that families with disabled children face.
- Factors that prevent parent carers asking for flexible working include not being able to earn less and not knowing their rights.
- There is an ignorance among parent carers about the law that gives employees the right to request flexible working.
- Many parent carers turn down jobs, or did not apply for one, because it did not offer flexbility.
In 2004, we conducted a survey into debt in conjunction with the Family Fund. The aim was to find out how families with disabled children manage their finances and whether they are more likely to struggle with credit commitments and debt than other households.
- Families with disabled children are more indebted than the general population, with more of them in some financial difficulty.
- Levels of housing arrears and arrears on Council Tax and utility bills are unacceptably high.
- Many families link their debt to unavoidable and necessary additional expenses that come from caring for a disabled child.
Reaching families in Wales: mapping families with disabled children - Wales index of multiple deprivation child research, 2011 [PDF]
Research investigating the relationship between families with disabled children in Wales and child poverty by comparing data on families helped by the Family Fund by postcode with the areas of relative deprivation in the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation Child Index (WIMD) 2011.
- The data shows a marked higher concentration of Family Fund 'families helped' in the most deprived WIMD categories 1 and 2.
- Despite this, there are numerically more 'families helped' living the least deprived WIMD category 5.
- There are clear areas in Wales where the higher density of 'families helped' in categories 1 and 2 stand our distinctly.