Benefits and Help
If your child has special needs you may qualify for a range of different benefits
and help. Your child does not need a diagnosis to claim for this help.
Personal Independence Payments (PIP). A child aged 3 months or over is able to claim PIP for help with personal care. There are 3 rates, Higher, middle and lower. Send for a claim pack to DSS, P.O. Box 14, Heywood, Lancs. OL10 2FN, or teephonel for info on 08457 123456. It is suggested that you obtain professional help to complete these forms, names and numbers are located in this booklet.
Mobility allowance. A child aged 3yrs and over may qualify for the mobility component of PIP. There are 2 rates, higher and lower. Both of these benefits are payable to people with learning difficulties and/or severe behavioural difficulties. For information write or telephone the above address. The above benefits are payable to the child, but can increase benefits such as income support received by the parent or guardian.
Blue badge scheme. Your child will qualify for a the blue badge parking scheme for you car, if you receive the enhanced component of the mobility
allowance. This enables you to park more conveniently.
Free directory inquiries. If you have a child with special needs you will qualify for free directory enquiries. Telephone 195 to obtain an application form.
Reduction in council tax. If your child has sufficient need and needs a room dedicated to him / herself such as a specific bedroom, playroom or a room for therapies, medication or exercise, you may qualify for a reduction in council tax. Contact South Lakeland District Council Tel (01539) 733333
The Family Fund. This fund gives financial help for families with special needs children. Once you have applied you will be assessed by a local representative and a decision will be quickly taken to see if you qualify. They will contribute towards a range of things such as, holidays, driving lessons, washing machines, etc.
Contact PO, Box 50, York. YO1 2ZX. Tel (01904) 621115.
The Leonard Cheshire Foundation. This Charitable Organisation provides a babysitting service for special needs children and has a volunteer Befriending scheme. Contact (015394) 44840.
RADAR Toilet key scheme. If you have a disability, you can buy a key for around £3 to open locked disabled toilets. To get your key and a list of RADAR toilets in South Lakeland contact The Tourist Information Centre (01539) 725758 or (01229) 894784
Cinema Exhibitors association Card. This card enables 1 carer to obtain admission to participating cinemas and exhibitions when accompanying the card holder free of charge. To apply contact Tel: 01513488020 or go to: www.ceacard.co.ukFree road tax. If you qualify for higher rate mobility component you will also qualify for free road tax.
Contact 08457 123456.
Kendal Leisure Centre. If you are an adult receiving PIP you will
qualify for reduced membership and entry, this may apply at other leisure
Always ask if there is a reduced entrance charge for people with disabilities.
(The Aquarium of the Lakes and Dalton Zoo - both have reduced entrance fees.)
TIPS FOR COMPLETING PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE PAYMENTS (PIP) FORMS
Completing PIP forms takes a long time and needs a lot of information, but it is worth persevering with it.
Here are some top tips to make the form a little bit easier.
- Take your time to fill in the form, don't do it all in one go.
- Do a rough copy on paper first and then fill out the form.
- Don't fill it in alone, get professional advice.
- If you have access to the internet this is a useful website to help you http://www.bhas.org.uk/freeguides
- Keep a diary of the amounts and types of care your child requires both day and night.
- Give as much information as possible.
- Show how your child's needs differ from those children of a similar age.
- Give examples and anecdotes to illustrate your answers.
- Don't play down your child's condition.
- Say how often your child needs help, rather than how often they get help.
- Use the terms 'bad days and better days' if your child condition fluctuates. See www.bhas.org.uk for advice.
- Inform the professionals who work with your child, they may be contacted for information.
- Ask a professional who knows your child really well to provide a supporting statement.
- Include as much supporting evidence with the form.
- Read through the form before you send it.
- Keep a copy of the form and any supporting evidence for your records.
- Reward yourself when you have finished!
(Some parts of this advice are from an article by Penny Roper.)
NAMED PERSON/ INDEPENDENT PARENT SUPPORTER.
A Named Person is someone who will give you support and information, especially during the assessment and statementing process.
A named person will listen to your concerns and discuss any worries you may have.
You can choose your own Named Person, who may be a family friend;
a professional who is not involved with your child's assessment; someone from a voluntary organisation; a parent with similar experiences:
Your school may already have a trained Named Person, ask your schools SENCO for details.
A Named Person will attend meetings with you, help you to make informed decisions, help you to write letters and assist you with your choices.
Your named person will not be able to give you legal advice, but may be able to help you to get it.
A Named Person is different to the LEA's Named Officer and is independent of The LEA.
However they are both there to help your child.
You do not have to have a named person.
It is suggested that schools deal with children's special educational needs in 3 stages:
Stage 1. "School Action". Your child's teacher should record any concerns about your child's difficulties and should speak to you about them. Full discussion of your child's needs at this early stage and careful attention to any learning difficulties your child may have will often help your child make good progress without going further
If more help is needed, the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (S.E.N.C.O.) should talk to both you and your child's other teachers and an individual education plan (I.E.P.) should be written, the IEP should be very clear and focus on 3 or 4 key targets. IEPs should be discussed with parents and child and reviewed at least 3 times a year. That plan will set targets for your child to achieve and a date for a review to see what progress your child has made. The work done at this stage may mean no further action is required.
If more help is needed the school is likely to look for some specialist help or advice from outside the school, they may contact an educational psychologist or a specialist teacher.
The S.E.N.C.O. will consider the information collected so far on your child's special needs and the action already taken, then it will be decided what extra help your child needs.
Your child's teacher and the outside specialist will then draw up a new I.E.P. The school will record you child's progress carefully. You will be kept informed and invited to review meetings. The records are particularly important if a request for a statutory assessment is made.
Stage 2. "School Action Plus". If your child does not make as much progress as expected, the head teacher will ask the Local Education Authority (LEA) to make a statutory assessment.
A parent may request a statutory assessment at any stage of this process. Once a statutory assessment has been requested, the LEA. must be guided by the time frame detailed across in Fig 1. If the LEA refuse the request you have the right to appeal to the S E N tribunal.
Once a statutory assessment has been requested the LEA will have 6 weeks to decide whether or not to go ahead with the request. If an assessment is required you will be informed.
The LEA will then have 10 weeks to gather detailed reports from different specialists about your child and the special needs they may have. Once the information is gathered the LEA will consider all of the information obtained and they will decide what extra help your child needs.
Stage 3. "Statementing". At this stage a provisional statement will be issued for your
approval. This will take 2 weeks. Once you have received the statement you will have 2 weeks to respond to its contents. Once the response has been obtained the LEA have 8 weeks to issue the final Statement.
Speech therapy should normally be recorded in the final statement as an
Educational provision (part 3) unless there are exceptional reasons for not doing so.
The LEA have a duty to offer a place at a mainstream school unless it is
incompatible with efficient education of other children.
**YOUR CHILD'S STATEMENT IS A LEGAL DOCUMENT**