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Financial support for young people with SEND and their families

Financial support to help with childcare

A number of government funding streams are available to help you meet the cost of childcare. Some of these are universally available, some are means tested and some are for parents with a child with a disability.

The Government’s Childcare Choices website sets out the financial support that is available to help families with paying for childcare.

Help with childcare for children under the age of five

You can find more information about the different forms of early years childcare support, including those that are not specific to children with SEND on our website on our funded childcare information page.

3 and 4-year old funding

All 3 and 4-year olds are entitled to 570 hours of funded provision a year. This is called the universal entitlement. Working families may be able to get 1140 hours. This is often called the Extended Entitlement or 30 hours.

2-year-old funding

Some 2-year olds can get 570 hours of funded provision from the start of the term after their second birthday up until when they start their 3-year-old funding at the start of the term following their third birthday.

Most eligible parents will be sent a Golden Ticket. If your child receives Disability Living Allowance or has an Education, Health and Care Plan you will receive a Golden Ticket that you can take to your chosen provider to take up a place.

Further information about paying for the childcare of a child with SEND can be found on our Education and Families pages.

Help with childcare for older children and young adults

  • Tax Free Childcare is for 0-11-year olds or 16 if disabled: Working families can receive up to £4000 per child.
  • Tax Credits for Childcare is for 0-15-year olds or 16 if disabled: Working families can claim back up to 70% of childcare costs.

Help with childcare for parents who want to study

You may be eligible for help with your learning costs. You must be a full-time higher education student and have children under 15, or under 17 if they have special educational needs.

For more information, visit the Government’s Childcare Grant webpage.

The Care to Learn scheme can also help with childcare costs while you study. You must be aged under 20 at the start of your course.

For more information, visit the Government’s Care to Learn webpage.

Funding for early years providers to help your child

Early Years and Childcare providers can also access the following funding to support your child:

  • Disability Access Funding (3 and 4-year olds) is new funding for early years providers to support children with disabilities or special educational needs. It helps providers to make reasonable adjustments to their settings. For a provider to get this funding, the child must be receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
  • Early Years SEND Support Funding (funded time for 2,3 and 4-year olds) An Early Years provider can apply for funding to support inclusion work for targeted groups of children through specialist group work or additional staff training opportunities. Settings can also apply for funding to support individual children. If a child has complex needs, providers should contact the Portage service for advice and help.
  • Early Years Pupil Premium (3 and 4-year olds) provides extra money to the Early Years Provider for three and four-year-old children whose parents are in receipt of certain qualifying benefits, or who have been adopted or are in care.

Funding for schools to help your child

Schools receive money according to how many pupils there are in the school and what ages they are. This should pay for a curriculum which meets the needs of all children in the school.

  • SEN funding – This is an amount a school receives to provide for the needs of children and young people who require additional support. Appropriate provision for pupils with SEND should be additional to and different from the usual support provided for other learners in the class.
  • Top up funding – This provides for children and young people with the most complex needs. Who should receive this funding, how much they should receive and for how long is decided by a range of professionals with experience and expertise in SEND who work together for the best interests of the child.
  • The Pupil Premium – This is additional funding given to schools by the government so that they can support disadvantaged children and young people, and close the attainment gap between them and their peers. Schools receive the pupil premium for each child registered as eligible for free school meals in reception to year 11, and for children in care. The year 7 literacy and numeracy catch-up premium gives schools additional funding to support year 7 pupils who did not achieve at least level 4 in reading and/or maths at the end of key stage 2. Parents should be told if their child is eligible and schools must publish a report on how this funding was spent each year.

School budgets can be used to help children with SEND in any way which the school believes will provide appropriate support. This may be through additional resources, additional time with an adult or training for staff.

Financial support for young adults

Once you turn 16 you may also be able to claim benefits and allowances in your own right. Below are some useful links to find out more about different allowances, the application processes and if you are eligible for them.

Managing your money will be an important part of becoming a young adult and living more independently. Our Adult Care and Health page on Money management has some useful advice and support to help you with this.


If you feel unable to manage your benefits someone can become an appointee on your behalf. The appointee can apply to deal with your benefits for you if you are struggling with it. They can be a friend or relative, or an organisation like a solicitors or your local council.

You can find out more about becoming an appointee and their responsibilities on the Government’s website.

There are numerous grants and funds to help with different areas of your life, which you may be eligible for. Have a look at the summary below:

Financial support for Education, Training and Employment

  • The 16-19 Bursary Fund is a Government bursary that can help you with educational costs such as travel, books, meals or clothing if you are studying at a school or college or on a training course (including unpaid work experience). If you have an EHC plan you may be eligible for the bursary if you are over the age of 19.
  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA) is an allowance provided by the government which offers help if you can’t work because of a long term illness or disability.
  • Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). It may be possible for people studying a further education course to get additional money to support their studies through the Disabled Students’ Allowance depending on circumstances. Healthcare and social work students may be eligible for a bursary through the NHS Disabled Students’ Allowance. See NHS Student Bursaries for more information.
  • Access to work, provides support and could include money, known as a grant, which you don’t have to pay back. It helps people who have a disability or long-term health condition to do their job.

Financial support for health needs

  • A Personal health budget is an amount of money granted by your local NHS team to help with your health and wellbeing needs.

Financial support for independent living

Disabled facilities grant

The Disabled Facilities Grant is for people who are or could be, registered disabled. You can use this money to make adaptations to your home to help you live more independently.

If you have a disabled child (anyone under 16 years old) or a disabled young person who is under 19 and in full time education living with you, you are also entitled to a disabled facilities grant.

What can they be used for?

You can apply for a disabled facilities grant if you own your home, rent from a private landlord or housing association or live with family.

Typical disabled facilities grant works include:

  • Installing stair lifts.
  • Replacing a bath with a level access shower.
  • Widening doorways.
  • Providing ramps.

Grants are approved on the cost of the eligible works up to a maximum of £30,000.

Find out more information about these grants on the Government website.

How do I get one?

Contact Care Direct at Devon County Council on 0345 1551 007 to arrange for an occupational therapist to visit. The occupational therapist will assess your needs for an adaptation and if a disabled facilities grant is recommended they will send a referral to your district council.

You can find more information about disabled facilities grants by visiting your local district council’s website. The links below will take you straight to the correct page:

What if I want more choice over the equipment I get?

When you are over 18, you can get small pieces of equipment to help you stay independent in your home. We use prescriptions for this equipment to give you more control and choice over the equipment you have. You can choose what you want and where to get it. The process is simple, quick and free, and you can get independent help and information if you need it. For help with this call Care Direct on 0345 1551 007.

Financial support for carers of young adults

If you care for a child or young adult you may be eligible for some support of your own to help you best support them and yourself. The Care Act 2014 recognises the rights of carers.

Carer’s Allowance

As a carer of someone over 18 you may be entitled to financial support in your own right. You might be eligible for a Carer’s Allowance.

The person you care for must already get one of these benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment – daily living component.
  • Disability Living Allowance – the middle or highest care rate.
  • Attendance Allowance.
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension.
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment.

You might be able to get Carer’s Allowance if all of the following apply:

  • you’re 16 or over
  • you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
  • you’re not in full-time education
  • you’re not studying for 21 hours a week or more
  • you earn no more than £110 a week (after taxes, care costs while you’re at work and 50% of what you pay into your pension).

Please visit the Government’s website for a full list of eligibility criteria and information about how to apply.

Additional help for parent carers

Financial Support from national organisations and charities

  • Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.
  • Turn2Us is a national charity helping people when times get tough. They provide financial support to help people get back on track.
  • Disability Grants provide computer and assistive technology grants.
  • CrackerJacks Children’s Trust provides grants to disabled children and young people throughout the UK. It’s able to offer grants between £250 and £1,000 towards specialised equipment. This might include a specialised wheelchair, bikes and trikes and sensory toys.The charity also has a respite home near Bream Sands in Somerset called “Ray’s Sunshine Holiday Home”.
  • CHIPS is the charity of the casino and gaming industry and provides specialised powered wheelchairs for children and young people with varying disabilities. It will only fund powered wheelchairs not provided by the NHS.
  • The Children’s Hope Foundation helps improve the lives of children and young people affected by illness, disability or poverty. It provides funding for anything (with a few exceptions) that will benefit the child such as medical equipment, computers, holidays and days out. The charity also has a caravan holiday home in East Sussex for children (and their families) between the ages of 3-17 who have special needs.
  • Children’s Heart Federation provides information and practical support to children and young people with congenital and acquired heart conditions and their families. Professionals, such as cardiac nurses, social workers or advice workers are able to apply for grants towards specialist equipment and unexpected family costs such as travel expenses to hospital.
  • Children Today helps disabled children and young people up to the age of 25. It provides grants for specialist equipment and aids such as communication aids, educational toys, trikes, lifting equipment and electric wheelchairs.
  • Caudwell Trust provides grants for children with special needs for things like specialist equipment.
  • Lifeline4kids provide essential equipment to help improve the life of children with disabilities or special needs.