Cuts to benefits

Over the last six years families with disabled children have been affected by many of the changes to the benefits and tax system.

Our welfare reform briefing paper [PDF] shows that some of changes mean families with disabled children are worse off. Our new briefing on Universal Credit [PDF] explains why many more disabled children will be worse off than the originally estimated 100,000.

Tax credits cuts - scrapped

In July, the government announced plans to cut tax credits. This could have affected around 150,000 families with disabeld childen.

What we achieved

  • The Chancellor scrapped tax credit cuts in the November spending review. Thanks to thousands of our supporters to help make this happen.

What we wanted

  • The government to think again about making these cuts as they impact on too many families with disabled children.

What we did

  • We organised a twitter campaign ahead of the tax credits cuts vote to encourage MPs to vote against changes - read our tax credit cuts briefing [.DOC].
  • We worked with the press and family case studies to highlight the impact of tax credit cuts on disabled children. See the Sun's article.
  • We organised a petition to gain support for our campaign.

Housing benefit size critieria - the bedroom tax

There are still many families with disabled children struggling as a result of size criteria rules. This includes families needing an extra room for an overnight carer, to store life-saving equipment or to use as a safe space for their disabled child. See the latest news on bedroom tax.

What we want

  • Housing benefit rules to be amended to allow for the costs of an extra bedroom where it is needed as a result of a disabled child's condition.

What you can do

  • We are collecting case studies from families affected by bedroom tax. Email Head of Policy Una Summerson at for more information.

What we're doing

We are gathering evidence to show that bedroom tax is causing serious difficulties for families with disabled children. Our research shows that:

  • nearly one in ten families with disabled children are still affected by the bedroom tax and similar rules in the private sector
  • 38 percent of these families are losing more than £25 a week
  • 80 per cent of people who applied for Discretionary Housing Payments - intended to protect the most vulnerable from bedroom tax cuts - were turned down.

We're using this research to call on the government to amend the size criteria rules.

Personal Independence Payment

Only one in five disabled people have received a decision on their claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) since the new benefit was introduced. This is causing unnecessary worry and pressure on disabled people and their family carers.

Want we want

  • Improvements to the process so that people are financially supported and not caused undue stress throughout their claim for PIP.

What you can do

 What we're doing

We've gathered evidence from families and have made the following recommendations:

  • The evidence gathering process should be improved so that disabled people are not asked to attend a face-to-face assessment if they don't need to.
  • Aassessor training on specific condition groups must be improved, and where possible disabled people should be matched with assessors who have a good knowledge of their condition or impairment.
  • Income support for the person caring for a disabled person claiming PIP should be extended until a decision on PIP has been made.
  • Independent reviews should continue to take place during the roll out of the benefit so that concerns are monitored and addressed.