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Universal Credit

Photo: Get financial support for a deaf child or young person

There is a range of welfare benefits and grants deaf children and young people and their families might be eligible for.

The main disability benefits are Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Some deaf people also require support to do their job which is funded through the Access to Work scheme run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Details of other benefits and grants are below.

What is Carer’s Allowance?

Carer's Allowance is a benefit for people who care for someone, provided the person they care for receives certain benefits.

Can I claim Carer’s Allowance?

You could claim Carer’s Allowance if your child gets:

  • the middle or high rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or
  • the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

and you:

  • are 16 or over
  • spend at least 35 hours a week caring for your child
  • aren’t in full-time education
  • aren’t studying for 21 or more hours a week
  • earn no more than £120 a week (after taxes, care costs while at work and 50% of your pension contributions). Your pension doesn’t count as earnings.

You can claim Carer’s Allowance even if you have savings.

You can only claim Carer’s Allowance once, even if you care for more than one person.

Only one person can claim Carer’s Allowance for caring for someone, even if more than one person meets the eligibility conditions.

How much is Carer’s Allowance?

Carer’s Allowance is £64.60 a week. It counts as income when your entitlement to income-related benefits is worked out. This means that if you receive Universal Credit, Income Support or another income-related benefit and you’re awarded Carer’s Allowance, some money will be deducted. 

However, you will receive a carer premium of £36, so you'll still be better off. You'll also get National Insurance credits towards your state pension. Receiving Carer’s Allowance might also mean that you can apply for a council tax reduction.

Carer’s Allowance can't be paid at the same time as certain other benefits such as State Pension. It's still worth applying for these 'overlapping'  benefits because you may get a carer’s premium or addition which will increase any means-tested benefits you receive.

Impact on the cared for person

If you’re awarded and paid Carer’s Allowance, and the person you care for receives a means-tested benefit such as income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), their income may be reduced as they will lose their Severe Disability Premium (if they receive it). It's important to check before applying - for more information visit the government's Carer's Allowance Unit webpage.

How do I claim Carer's Allowance?

If you want to claim Carer’s Allowance you can apply online or download a paper form.

What is Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)?

ESA is a benefit for people who are 16 or over and find it harder to work because of ill health or disability.

There are different types of ESA – contribution-based and income-related. Most people under 25 will only be able to claim income-related ESA because they won’t have paid enough National Insurance contributions to qualify for contribution-based ESA (also known as new style ESA).

The amount of income-related ESA received will be affected by the claimant's income and savings.

Who can claim ESA?

To claim ESA a person must:

  • be aged 16 or over
  • not be in full-time work (16 hours or more per week) but there are exceptions, such as voluntary or permitted work
  • have limited capability for work – this means that because of their ill health or disability it is unreasonable to require them to work
  • be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if they’re in full-time, non-advanced education (for example, A levels) or approved training.
    The rules about full-time, non-advanced education are complicated so get advice if you’re unsure.

How to claim ESA

Your child needs to make the ESA claim themselves, unless they have someone who acts as an appointee for them. However, if your child needs help with claiming you can speak to the DWP on their behalf as long as your child is present and gives their permission.

There are three ways to start an ESA claim:

  1. contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  2. download and print the ESA1 form
  3. call into a Jobcentre Plus and ask for an ESA claim pack – some Jobcentres let people make face-to-face claims.

After the first seven days a medical certificate from a GP (known as a fit note) will need to be sent to the office dealing with the ESA claim. Your child will need to keep sending in these fit notes until a further assessment, called a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), takes place (usually around 13 weeks after the initial claim).

A questionnaire (called an ESA50) will be sent out; this must be returned by the deadline on the form. If more time is needed then your child can contact the DWP and ask for an extension.

The form asks questions about your child's health and disability to understand how they're affected. The questions are based on descriptors and points are given for tasks your child has difficulty with.

Its important your child provides as much information as possible and remembers that its not only what they cant do, but what they have difficulty doing.

If your child can't do something safely or reliably then the DWP should consider that they can't do it. 

Your child can provide further evidence but they must make sure its relevant. 

Many people will be asked to attend a face-to-face medical assessment to gather more evidence.

This process of claiming ESA is similar to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), so you may find some of the information in that section helpful.

How much ESA is paid, and continuing entitlement to ESA, is decided by whether your child passes the WCA. After the assessment they'll be sent a decision, if they have scored enough points they will be able to stay on ESA until their next assessment. 

Some people are put in the support group which means they won’t have to take part in work-related activity and their money will increase after 13 weeks. If your child isn't in the support group they may have to attend Jobcentre Plus and undertake some work-related activity, but staff should take your child's disability into consideration. For more information go to Employment and Support Allowance (GOV.UK)

An ESA claim can be backdated three months or from your child’s 16th birthday (whichever period is shorter) as long as there’s supporting medical evidence.

ESA may affect entitlement to Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit so make sure you get advice before applying.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is being introduced across the UK and will replace six means-tested benefits, for people in and out of work, including income-related ESA.

Universal credit works differently to other benefits, so it’s important to find out more:

If your child lives in a Universal Credit area and wants to apply because they’re having difficulty working due to their disability, then they need to  tell Jobcentre Plus or the DWP. Your child should record this request in their work journal and inform their work coach. They’ll need to ask for a UC50 questionnaire to be sent to them. This is similar to the ESA50 and the same approach will be taken.

What is Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)?

EMA is a benefit paid to students who are either studying or permanently resident in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

If your child is studying in England and they receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or have an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan, they might be able to get help from the 16-19 Bursary Fund.

Who can claim EMA?

To qualify for EMA students need to:

  • be aged 16–19
  • be living in a low income household
    • in Wales, the household income must be below £20,817 or £23,077 if there is more than one dependent child in the household
    • in Northern Ireland, the household income must be below £20,500 or £22,500 if there are is than one dependent child in the household
    • in Scotland, the household income must be below £24,421 or £26,884 if there is more than one dependent child in the household.
  • have left or be about to leave compulsory education and plan to carry on with their studies.

If your child qualifies, the amount they’ll get is calculated by looking at your household income. It’s not affected by any money your child earns from part-time work and won’t make any difference to any benefits you already receive.

For more information go to Education Maintenance Allowance (GOV.UK)

Disabled Students' Allowances are grants to help to pay for extra equipment and support for disabled students in higher education (university).

Find out more about Disabled Students' Allowances

Grant-giving organisations help people in need by either providing funding or goods and services such as equipment or holidays.

Every grant-giving organisation will have its own criteria for who it will support. Some organisations focus on a specific disability, geographical area, occupation, etc. and others will help a broad range of people such as those with a disabled child or people on low incomes.

Most organisations will only help when local health and social services aren’t able to.

You’ll need to check if you can apply for help yourself or whether a social worker or other professional has to apply on your behalf. In some circumstances, we may be able to provide a letter to support your application if you want a grant for the benefit of your deaf child.

How do I find a grant?

Your local council, carers support service, or Local Deaf Children’s Society might have information about grants available in your area.

Turn2us is a free service that helps people find grants. It has a database of over 3000 funds offering welfare and educational grants.

You can search through this database on their website or via their helpline (0808 802 2000), giving details of your background and location to find the best match between your needs and the available funds.

Disability Grants is a website with details of grant-giving organisations that help people with disabilities. You can search by location, disability and area of need.

Useful publications from the Directory of Social Change include:

  • The Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need
  • The Guide to Educational Grants
  • The Directory of Grant Making Trusts.

These guides should be available in your local library. 

Examples of grant-giving organisations

We offer a range of grants to help deaf children and young people get involved with activities or learning to support confidence, independence and development.

Other grant-giving organisations include:

Birkdale Trust for Hearing Impaired

Family Fund


Ovingdean Hall Foundation.