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What are disability benefits?

Photo: Disability benefits are paid to people with specific needs, such as a disability or illness

For many families, being told their child has been identified with a hearing loss or is deaf can come as a great shock. In that moment thinking about money or trying to understand how to access disability benefits may not be a top priority.

However, if you or your deaf child do need financial support there are various options available to you. But it’s important to get the right information and advice to ensure you don’t miss out.

What are disability benefits?

Benefits are cash payments paid by the Government to people and families. They can be paid due to low income or because of specific needs, such as a disability or illness. The main disability benefits are Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independent Payment (PIP). You can find more information on our website about DLA and PIP here.

They are not means tested. This means that it doesn’t matter if you are in work or have savings, you and your deaf child could still qualify to receive either DLA or PIP. The amount you are awarded is also based on the level of disability and not your current financial situation.

Are disability benefits meant for deaf children?

Yes. Many deaf children and young people and their families in the UK receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) (or an equivalent such as Child Disability Payment in Scotland) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP), as these benefits are a contribution towards the extra costs of raising a disabled child or living with a disability.

It is important to remember that the level of hearing loss itself doesn’t determine entitlement to disability benefits. Whether or not your child uses hearing technology, can lip read or uses sign language also makes no difference, as they may still be entitled to the benefit.

Disability benefits can be paid for deaf infants and children, teenagers and deaf young people. 

What can the money be spent on?

If you are awarded a disability benefit, there are no rules on what the money should be spent on as it is a contribution to the extra costs of raising a disabled child or living with a disability. Each family and deaf young person will likely use this money slightly different.

For example, you could use the money for:

  • communication support
  • sensory toys
  • transport costs
  • extra tuition
  • computers or other technology
  • broadband
  • social activities.

Isn’t claiming benefits difficult?

The benefits system is complicated and the forms you have to fill in can be long and confusing. However, help is available. We have lots of information about the benefits available for deaf children and young people and their families and guides to help you fill in the forms. Including our guide to filling in the form for DLA for a deaf child under the age of three and over the age of three, and our step-by-step guide to filling in the PIP 2 form.

We also have information about the other financial support available, such as Carers Allowance (CA) and grants.

If you have any questions about disability benefits you can get in touch with our Helpline for independent information, advice and guidance.