Benefits and grants
Manchester Local Offer SEND Information Hub
In Manchester, the 'go to' organisations for support and signposting around money matters are Carers Manchester and Citizens Advice. There is also Manchester City Council's Cost of Living Advice Line and information hub. Nationally, the charity Contact has a lot of helpful information. See the Household matters section for financial support around energy costs.
Sign up for our newsletter to get regular updates.
(Go to the Local Offer SEND Information Hub.)
Benefits information from Contact: Contact is a national charity supporting families with disabled children. Eligible families who make a call to the Family Finances team on Contact’s helpline are better off by nearly a £100 a week. As well as the helpline, they have information on benefits and tax credits. This includes Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the main benefit for disabled children in England. It is not taxable and does not count as income for other benefits. Getting DLA can mean you are eligible for other forms of financial support too. You might also be interested in help with health costs, how you could pay less Council Tax if your child requires extra space due to their disability, and Contact’s top 5 questions from carers around benefits and finance. Check your entitlements using their Benefits Checker. We encourage you to sign up to their newsletter for all the latest updates.
Carers Allowance tip (Winter 22): Did you know it is a good idea to claim Carer’s Allowance even though it is deducted in full from Universal Credit payments? This is because it entitles you to a class one National Insurance contribution which can protect your right to a State Pension. Find out more from Contact.
Carers benefits: Carers Manchester has a Benefits and Finance Advice resource and offers training to carers around the subject. You can get in touch with them through their Contact Point. We encourage you to sign up to their regular newsletter (scroll down the main page to find the registration link). This has regular updates on benefits and finances, as well as other issues relevant to carers.
Childcare savings: Manchester has a great range of high quality child care, allowing parents to work and providing a great start in life for young children. High quality childcare doesn’t come cheap though, so it’s useful to know what support is available to meet the cost:
15 hours free childcare per week for eligible families with a two year old
15 hours free early learning per week for all three and four year olds with working families entitled to 30 hours free childcare.
Tax Free Childcare scheme offering families with children aged 0-11 years up to 20% towards childcare costs (or 0-16 years for children with a disability)
Most of Manchester’s early years settings are registered to accept tax free payments. Visit Childcare Choices for more information and a handy calculator to find out which childcare funding you're entitled to.
Healthy Start: If you receive Universal Credit, are over 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under the age of 4, you may be eligible for weekly subsidised healthy food and vitamins. See Healthy Start.
Help from Citizens Advice: Citizens Advice Manchester can provide support and advice around benefit issues.
Help With debts, bills and borrowing: Visit www.manchester.gov.uk/helpinghands for advice and support on a range of topics.
Council support: Manchester City Council funds lots of things – big and small – to keep people living independently at home. This includes:
- Equipment to make life easier day to day – e.g. for cooking and bathing
- Minor adaptations - like grab rails and small ramps
- Major adaptations – such as wider doorways, wet rooms and ramps
Funding for major adaptions comes through the Disabled Facilities Grant. Disability Grants has information on this here.
Emergency cash grant: You can apply to the Council for a cash grant of between £30 and £60 if you are in crisis or have an emergency that is out of your control. See this page for how to apply.
Family Fund - grants for families: Families with children that have complex needs and disabilities can apply for grants for vital equipment - such as computers, specialist equipment and educational toys. It can also help with the cost of goods or services, like washing machines and refrigerators. See the Family Fund website for how to apply.
In 2023, they introduced a new grant for young people aged 18-24. Check out the Your Opportunity page, with a video on how to apply. Grants can be used for a range of activity, including day trips, club membership, laptops and musical instruments.
Grants for school uniform and other educational resources: The Council does not directly help with school uniforms. Check with your school to see if they have a uniform exchange or discretionary funds to support the cost of uniforms. Applications can be made to the Mynshull’s Education Foundation for grants for school uniform and other resources that might support SEND children and young people. They have to be 25 and younger and live in the City of Manchester and adjoining areas. The fund is administered by Gaddum.
Wood Street Mission now run their Smart Start school uniform programme all year round. Families can place uniform orders and choose other school essentials, such as winter coats, school bags, sports kit and stationery. You can’t self-refer. You need to be referred to Wood Street Mission by a professional who knows your family’s circumstances well. Find out what else Wood Street Mission offers to Manchester families.
React grants: React charity will assist any child under the age of 18 diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and whose family is in financial need. Funding is for items that improve a child’s quality of life around basic, essential needs (specialist medical, mobility, hygiene and educational equipment). Find out more on the React website.
Support from Wood Street Mission: Wood Street Mission offer support to families living on a low income in Manchester and Salford, including help with children’s clothes, toys, bedding, baby equipment, toiletries, and Christmas presents. You need to be referred by a professional. Find out more on their website.
Also - Child Trust Fund campaign (June 23) There are 80,000 disabled young people in England and Wales at risk of losing £210 million. A difficult and costly process means many are unable to access the savings held in their Child Trust Fund. Contact are supporting a parent-led campaign to help disabled children access their savings.
(November 23) If your child was born between 1st September 2002 and 2nd January 2011, the government gave you a voucher worth between £250 and £750 to encourage you to open a Child Trust Fund. If you were one of the 1.7 million parents who forgot to do anything with the voucher, the government invested the voucher on your child’s behalf. There’s likely to be a minimum of £100-£500 in the account, and the average balance is £2,100. Find out about Child Trust Funds from Contact.
Organisations with grants listings
Disability Grants: Set up by a parent of a disabled child, Disability Grants is a free resource of grants and other information, including advice on applying. The grant information is in the following categories:
Children and young People / Disabled adults / Families and carers / Individual conditions and disabilities / Holidays / Recreation / Equipment / Housing / Grants for education / Disability and employment / Grants UK / Grants by area, including Manchester
Sky Badger: Sky Badger is a charity that finds help and adventure for disabled children and their families all over the UK. They have information on grants and finances, including help with bills, disability allowance and various ‘How to’ guides.
Turn2Us: Turn2us helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help – online, by phone and face to face through their partner organisations. They provide a fund finder where you can search for grants under criteria. They also have a benefits calculator.