The Family Fund helps families with severely disabled children and young people aged 17 and under by giving grants to make their lives easier. This is a grant designed to help families on lower incomes. The Family Fund defines a severely disabled child or young person as someone who has additional complex needs or having a life threatening or serious condition which must be life limiting or long term (over 12 months).
Grant applications can be made for items which will make life more enjoyable for the child or young person and their family. This could be a computer or some special sensory equipment, white goods such as a washing machine, driving lessons for a carer, days out or even a holiday. Young people aged 16 or 17 can make an application in their own right.
The Family Fund has amended its income criteria to be more in line with a family's entitlement to benefits and tax credits. Grant applications will be considered from any family* who are eligible for (and can send evidence of entitlement to) one of the following:
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income Support
- Incapacity Benefit
- Employment Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Pension Credit
*Families must have permanent legal residency in the UK and have lived in the UK for 6 months (or 3 months where the child is less than 6 months old). This means they must be eligible to work and apply for benefits.
The Family Fund will still aim to prioritise their support to those families on lower incomes, however, this change in criteria means that all applications that meet the criteria will be considered. Families may be asked more information about their income and should always be aware that grants are discretionary and subject to available funding.
Applicants must meet the Family Fund’s criteria as there are limited funds and many applications. They must show that their child’s needs have a greater impact on their family life than usual and that much more planning and support is needed, for example, families who have a severely disabled child often have to plan even the simplest day out with military precision and spontaneity often does not exist.
Application packs for first time applicants can be downloaded online at www.familyfund.org.uk or from www.facebook.com/familyfund or by ringing 0845 1304542 or by writing to The Family Fund, 4 Alpha Court, Monks Cross Drive, York, YO32 9WN. An application can be made every 12 months and repeat applicants can apply online.
The Family Fund will take 3-4 months to process a first application. They will check household income and that all criteria are met. They may also arrange for a home visit or phone call from a Family Fund Advisor.
Repeat applications will usually be completed in 6-8 weeks. Progress can be checked online or by text.
For more information, visit www.familyfund.org.uk