For Families and Carers : Commonly Claimed Benefits

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
  • Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit – claimed by families on lower incomes. Which one you claim depends on where you live.
  • 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

Please go to our section “Children under 16” to see other benefits which you may also find useful.


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 alsonot 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.
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is the main benefit for people over 16 who are not working 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 ESA from 16 onwards, even if they are still in school or college, as well as claiming PIP. However, when your child claims ESA, their Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit will stop. 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 ESA for them, or not.

Please go to our section “16+” to see other benefits which you may find useful.


People living independently

People with Down’s syndrome in supported living still get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independent Payment (PIP).

They may also be able to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, to help with rent. They may also get Council Tax Support, if they are liable to pay any Council Tax.

They may also get higher levels of some benefits, if they count as “living alone”. If they only live with other people with disabilities on benefits, they may count as “living alone”.


People in residential care or residential college

Living in a setting which 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.