What can 'Benefit' you and your child? & Laws to support you!
Autism Act 2009; Children and Families Act 2014; Disability Living Allowance; Carers Allowance & more...
I had a brilliant social worker who helped me learn about the benefits my daughter was entitled to due to her 'development and communciation impairment' as it was initially called at age two, before she received her diagnosis. These benefits such as DLA, helped me pay for her many therapies and interventions. Now, she is more able she does not get the same rates as when she was little because her needs are not so great as they were. Which is great! However, the amount she does still receive, helps her continue her life skills and independent living skills development, interests and hobbies; dance and trampoline gymnastics. These hobbies are still an important part of her development because they help her continue learning, not only about participation in team and individual events, success and turn taking but also about disappointment, making mistakes and coping with those life events which we all have to learn to deal with, learn from and work out how we might do things differently; if we want a different result next time. Additionally, as the body and mind work together, much physical exercise contributes to the brain's development and educational learning.
You don't have to use these benefits in the same way I did and my daughter does now but you should know that you can claim them so you can choose how to use them to improve your/your child's/your family's life and potential.
Here are the first benefits you should explore and consider applying for:
**NB. PERSONAL BUDGETS ARE BEING PILOTED CURRENTLY**
SEN CO-ORDINATORS MUST HAVE PRESCRIBED QUALIFICATIONS OR EXPERIENCE OR BOTH
As soon as you know your child has difficulties or appears developmentally delayed you should consider applying for DLA. These are daunting, extremely long and depressing forms in which you may not understand how your child's autism relates to the questions asked. For some tips on filling in these forms, please see below...
DLA is NOT means tested and does NOT require a Diagnosis.
NB. You can still get High rate mobility even if you only get the Middle rate of Care
My social worker gave me this information when she first helped me complete the DLA form. It was copies of the DLA criteria which she brought with her.
Even if you do not qualify for the Higher rate of care and you get the Middle Rate of care (There are three levels of care and two of mobility) you may still be able to get the 'High rate mobility' component under section 'G5 Learning Disabilities.' labelled 'Virtual inability to Walk.'
The information my social worker gave me years ago states,
'However, it is still possible for some people who are autistic deaf/blind or have a learning disabity to qualify for the Higher rate mobility on the basis of virtual inability to walk.'
'The key thing is to get evidence to show interruptions in the ability to make progress on foot outdoors are simply 'reactions to various stimuli.' Those reactions are simply the result of any 'brain damage or the genetic damage which caused the learning disabilities and prevents the normal co-ordination of mind and body.'
You may also want to write,
'Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder which causes severe impairment of intellectual and social functioning and is a life long condition with no known cause or cure.'
Remember to give examples ie. if your child screams when responding to loud noises whilst outside or walking along the road walking with hands over his/her ears due to sensory overload from the environment, this is a response to 'sensory stimuli' etc.
Try and write examples of how your child's development differs from that of his/her peers as well as explaining their inability to have any sense of danger.
DLA for working aged people will be abolished over the next four years starting in April 2013. Instead you will be able to claim PIP. There is more information about this benefit and how it relates to the current DLA and about how it is assessed on the NAS Website.
If you get DLA for your child and work but don't earn over a specific amount a week you could be entitled to claim Carers Allowance. You should apply for this at the same time as the DLA as this will only be backdated three months if you don't and apply later.
If you are disabled or your child is and receiving DLA you may also be entited to EXTRA TAX CREDITS! Let the Inland Revenue Tax Credits Office know as soon as you are awarded DLA.
This benefit is for people who cannot work or have a limited ability to work because of a disability or health condition. SOME YOUNG PEOPLE CAN CLAIM ESA WHILST IN FULL TIME EDUCATION AND MAY BE BETTER OFF DOING THIS RATHER THAN THEIR PARENTS CLAIMING CHILD BENEFIT AND/OR CHILD TAX CREDITS...
The NAS website has more information about this for you to explore and can offer support and advice via this LINK.
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