Thursday, 24 June 2010


One thing you should definitely do as soon as possible is check that you are receiving the correct benefits. Your life changes radically when you have a child with Down's Syndrome and this may also affect your income, so any help that is available is worth getting.

I don't confess to be an expert here - I only know about my own circumstances - but the best thing to do is get in touch with someone who knows. The Down's Syndrome Association have telephone advisors on the subject, as do Carers UK. The Benefits Hotline is also excellent and can be contacted by phone.

If you are a new parent, you may be surprised to discover just how early on you are able to start claiming Disability Living Allowance - don't be disheartened by the thick form you have to fill in, it is worth it in the end. The new government's Budget may change the way things are arranged in the future, but I am sure that anyone truly entitled will not be affected greatly. You may also be entitled to Carer's Allowance if you earn below £100 per week but be careful of your figures as they are very hot on pulling you up if you make a mistake, and you will have to repay any money you were not entitled to.

Also check out what you may be entitled to in the way of equipment - if your child is still having problems walking long distances yet they are getting too large for the average buggy, you are entitled to a larger specialised buggy. I wish I had been in this country while my daughter was small as we got through about 6 buggies as she was a late walker and still needed the wheels until she was about 6 years old for longer walks and days out.

If your child is still in nappies after the 'normal' age for toilet training, check with your health visitor or doctor's surgery as you may be entitled to free nappies.

It is definitely worth taking up any benefits that you are able to - you will find that new and unexpected expenses rear their heads along the way and anything that relieves the pressure, no matter how small, can't be bad.

If your child has a lot of trouble getting about, you may also be able to be a part of the Motability scheme which provides a 'free' car - although we have not been able to access this.

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