For babies and children under 16, benefits which are claimed by many families are:
- Child Benefit – can be claimed by all families, reduced for families on higher incomes
- Universal Credit – claimed by families on lower incomes. Some families may still be receiving tax credits (which Universal credit has replaced).
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – a non means-tested benefit for children with a disability or illness. It is intended to compensate for the extra costs of having a disability. This is the main “extra” benefit for children with Down’s syndrome. You can spend DLA in any way that benefits your child
- Carer’s Allowance – paid to people who are not working because they care for someone who gets DLA
For people at 16 and over living with their family, benefits which are claimed by many families are:
- Child Benefit, and Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit may remain in payment until your child reaches 20, if they are still in education.
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – At 16, your child will claim PIP instead of DLA. Like DLA, it is to compensate for the extra costs of having a disability. It is also not means-tested, but your child’s needs will be assessed under different rules. PIP can be spent in any way that benefits your child.
- Carer’s Allowance – this will continue if you are not working, and still caring for your child who gets PIP.
- Universal credit (UC) is the main benefit for people over 16 who are not working and are not in full-time education (or, if in full-time education, they have been found to have limited capability for work)because of a sickness or disability. It is intended to provide money to live on, instead of a wage.
People with Down’s syndrome can claim UC from 16 onwards, (however please see our information about universal credit and students first)
even if they are still in school or college, as well as claiming PIP.
When your child claims UC, the Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit that you receive for them in your benefits will end.
Some families will be better off staying with Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit. When your child turns 16, check whether it’s better for you to claim UC for them, or not.
People living independently
People with Down’s syndrome in supported living have an award of Universal Credit and some who are already in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will continue with that benefit. In addition, they will receive Personal Independent Payment (PIP).
They may also be able to claim Housing Benefit (if they receive the severe disability premium within their ESA) or Universal Credit, to help with rent. They may also get Council Tax Support, if they are liable to pay any Council Tax.”.
People in residential care or residential college
Living in a setting that is not a family home affects your benefits.
This could be a residential college, care home, or a supported living situation.
How your benefits are affected can be quite complicated. It can depend on the kind of place you are living in, whether you are being funded out of “public funds”, eg, social services or education funding, and in some cases, exactly what legislation you are being funded under.
We can only give general information. If you have doubts about your own situation, please get advice.