Published 02 June 2023 by TheSentre

Can I Get Funding for Childcare for Special Needs Children?

Tinika hugging a child at SENtre

Here at SENtre, we understand that caring for a child with special educational needs (SEN), particularly if that child is on the autistic spectrum, comes with unique challenges, and we’re here to help. One of the questions we get asked a lot by concerned parents and carers is about SEN funding and benefits that are available for children with SEN and autism, so we’ve put together this guide to highlight some of the options available. 

The UK government recognises the additional financial burden that parents and carers may face when it comes to caring for, and providing therapy for, children with SEN. Those who care for children on the autistic spectrum or with other special educational needs do have access to a range of funding options and allowances to assist with these costs. In this blog we’re looking at the Disability Living Allowance, tax credits, Universal Credit, tax-free childcare and local authority support – some of the available autism benefits in the UK. We have linked to the relevant websites below so you can easily continue your research. 

At SENtre we’re always on hand to help as this information can seem overwhelming, particularly just after receiving a diagnosis. The best thing parents and caregivers can do is explore these autism funding options, understand the eligibility criteria and then contact the relevant services to apply for the relevant SEN Benefits. These essential resources can alleviate some of the financial burden associated with SEN childcare, shifting the focus to providing the very best care and support for children with SEN. 

Disability Living Allowance for Children with SEN 


The first and most essential financial support available to UK SEN caregivers is the Disability Living Allowance (DLA). This non-means-tested benefit is designed to help parents and carers cover the costs associated with caring for a child with special educational needs. The DLA is divided into two components: a care component and a mobility component.  

  • The care component is based on the level of care required for the child.  
  • The mobility component is provided if the child has difficulties with mobility.  

The rates and eligibility criteria for DLA may vary depending on the child's age and level of impairment. It’s also worth noting that DLA is not specifically allocated for childcare expenses but can be used to support overall care needs. Essentially, you can spend it where you need it most. 


Tax Credits and Universal Credit for Children with SEN 


Another form of financial help available to SEN parents and carers in the UK is tax credits and Universal Credit. These are means-tested benefits that provide support based on the income and circumstances of the parents or caregivers of children with SEN.  

These credits and allowances will help towards childcare costs for families that have children with special educational needs and include those on the autistic spectrum. Eligibility and the amount of support received for this type of SEN funding will depend on considerations such as income, the number of children in the family and the hours worked. 


Tax-Free Childcare for Children with SEN 


Tax-Free Childcare is a beneficial UK government program designed to assist parents and caregivers with the expenses of childcare. Under this scheme, you can receive up to £500 every three months (or £2,000 per year) for each of your children. However, if your child has a disability, the amount increases to £1,000 every three months (or £4,000 per year). 

You can register for this Tax-Free Childcare service on the government website, where you will need to create an online childcare account for your child. For every £8 you deposit into this account, the government will contribute £2, which can be used to pay your SEN childcare provider. 

You can make use of this Tax-Free Childcare scheme to help towards the vital early education and childcare benefits that SENtre provides, including our safe, calm education and therapy services and early learning opportunities tailored specifically to children with special educational needs (SEN).  


Local Authority Support for Children with SEN 


Local authorities can also provide additional support for the parents and carers of children with special educational needs. This includes financial assistance specifically aimed at childcare costs. Local councils may offer schemes that cover part, or all, of the expenses associated with specialised childcare services, but these schemes can vary depending on where you live. SENtre is based in Birmingham so you may find lots of useful information on the Birmingham City Council website relating to SEN support. The best first step to take is to contact your local council to inquire about the specific support available in your area. 


SEN Care and Therapy in a Safe, Fun Environment at SENtre  


When applying for funding, bear in mind that it may be worth gathering all necessary documentation and evidence to support your child's special educational needs, such as medical reports, diagnostic assessments and professional opinions. Having these important documents at hand will help speed up the process of applying for any SEN funding you are eligible for. Whatever your needs as the parents or carers of a child with special educational needs, SENtre is proud to support you at our SEN childcare facility in the heart of the UK.  

We are here to give children with SEN specialised care and support. Our team of professionals has more than 30 years of expertise in providing care and instruction for kids with autism spectrum disorders. Our efforts are always directed towards providing your child with a secure, compassionate and supportive environment, and we’d love to welcome you to our centre if you’d like more information. Get in touch with us at [email protected] or book a phone call with us.