05 January 2015
Families with severely disabled children may now be eligible to receive a new benefit, irrespective of their household income.
The Child Personal Care Benefit is designed to help families with children who have a high-level long-term medical condition. It supports children with high care needs due to physical, sensory or cognitive illnesses or disabilities, and may also be available for those who are terminally ill.
Qualifying for Child Personal Care Benefit
The qualifying criteria are the same as the element of the Income Support medical component that is designed for people with high personal care needs caused by a significant level of disability.
There is no limit on household income for this benefit, but to qualify one adult in the household must have been resident in the Island for at least five years.
The Social Security Minister, Deputy Susie Pinel, said “During 2014, the States Assembly expressed its clear support to provide extra financial help to families bringing up a child with severe disabilities and as a result the department is now able to offer this benefit to a wider range of children.”
Financial support depends on disability
The level of financial support depends on the impact that the long-term illness or disability has on the child, with assessments based on what the child is able to do, rather than why they have difficulties with everyday tasks.
All children are assessed at being at one of three levels of disability. Those who have been assessed as having the highest level of disability (Personal Care Level 3) have been able to apply since September 2014 and already receive £145.25 per week in Child Personal Care Benefit.
Personal Care Level 2
Since 1 January 2015, the families of children qualifying for Personal Care Level 2 have been eligible to receive £101.15 per week. As has been the case with Personal Care Level 3, anyone already receiving the Income Support medical component will automatically receive the benefit instead.
The change in rules is expected to affect a significant number of families, and the Social Security and Education departments are working in partnership to provide information to families.
Personal Care Level 1
Families with children at Personal Care Level 1 who receive Income Support will continue to receive the medical component; those families who do not receive Income Support will not be eligible for Child Personal Care Benefit.
Schools to distribute information
Information is being sent to all schools on a staggered basis from the start of spring term. Parents of pre-school children will be invited to apply separately. This will enable the Social Security Department to deal smoothly with the expected volume of new applications and to arrange initial appointments with any parent who wants one.
As applications will be staggered throughout the first half of 2015, all successful claims made before 30 June 2015 will be backdated for payment to 1 January. Information will also be provided through parish halls, charities, support groups and children’s medical services.
Deputy Pinel said “We are anticipating a large number of applications from families who are not currently receiving any benefit and so we are working hard to coordinate resources to meet this demand. We will encourage families to apply on a school-by-school basis, and we have agreed to backdate all successful claims to 1 January, so that no one loses out.”