A new survey by Family Fund finds that families raising disabled or seriously ill children have seen a “significant decrease” in income compared to a year ago. 20% of families have significantly less income, with 7 in 10 families reported that they have no savings to fall back on at all.  

Key findings from our survey of 2,700 UK families raising disabled or seriously ill children found that:

  • One in five families raising disabled children experienced “significant decrease” in income in past 12 months. A further 24% said they had experienced a “slight decrease” in income.
  • 85% of families said they had £500 or less in the bank and 7 in 10 report having no savings to fall back on whatsoever.
  • Two in five families (45%) said they had not been able to afford new clothes in the last 12 months.
  • Families reported that the past 12 months had negatively affected their disabled or seriously ill children’s behaviour and emotions (82%).
  • Previous research by Family Fund has suggested the coronavirus outbreak has set back the development and learning of many disabled or seriously ill children.

Cheryl Ward, Chief Executive of Family Fund, says, “It’s been an incredibly challenging year for many families with disabled or seriously ill children, and more are in greater financial need than ever.  

“Family Fund has seen applications for support from over 25,000 more families this year who need assistance to meet the costs associated with their children’s additional needs, and have helped over 90,000 so far since April 2020.

“A year spent largely at home has left more than two in five families unable to afford to replace essentials such as clothing and furniture. A third are now unable to afford specialist sensory equipment and toys for disabled children. These are families whose children have a higher use and dependency on these items due to needs arising from their conditions.

“Raising a disabled child already costs around three times more than a child without additional needs, so during these tough financial times it is so important that families who may be eligible for a grant for their child contact us.  

“Families with disabled or seriously ill children have been unable to access the same levels of health and social care support services due to the spread of Covid-19. Parents have also had little or no respite from providing often high levels of personal care, such as support with toileting, washing, administering medication and specialist feeding and so on.

“Now that we are learning more about the financial impact of the last year on families, it is urgent that Family Fund ensures we are reaching out to provide grants to support the needs of seriously ill and disabled children whose families have limited income.”

Click here to read the survey findings

Suzan, who has received support for a laptop, a games console and a day out, spoke to the i Newspaper about her current situation, and the impact the decrease in income is having on her son Anthony, and family life. 

i Newspaper article: Families with disabled and ill children facing ‘greater financial need’ in Covid pandemic.

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