THE MOTHER of a disabled child has spoken about the benefits available to help improve their lives.
Val McParland’s son, Anthony, has cerebral palsy and she and husband David Kay have spent tens of thousands of pounds making vital alterations to their Crosland Hill home.
They say that being supported by the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) has helped towards the cost of the improvements, which are necessary to allow 11-year-old Anthony a little independence.
They are advising other families who have children with extra needs to apply for the benefit as figures show 47% of parents are missing out.
Val said: “It concerns me greatly that many families who have children with disabilities live in poverty.
“The only way I can work is because I am employed by the council and they allow my hours to be worked around my son.
“I would advise anyone in my situation to get the application form. It is an onerous task and people may need help filling forms in. But it will be worthwhile if they and their family can benefit from it financially.”
The couple, along with daughter Catherine, aged nine, moved home so they could give Anthony the freedom around the house he needs.
They spent tens of thousands extending his bedroom and making alterations to a bathroom so he had room to move around in his wheelchair.
Val, a senior education social worker, added: “I come into contact with many families who could receive the DLA but don’t.
“I always tell them to go for it, even if they don’t think they are eligible, because they never know if they could benefit in some small way.”
The charity Contact A Family says that parents with disabled children are often among the most vulnerable and poorest families, but do not claim the benefits they are entitled to.
It also says it can cost up to three times the normal amount to raise a disabled child.
Families can receive up to £109.50 each week to help with the costs associated with having children with additional needs.
Contact A Family is urging parents to apply for what they are owed and for more information visit www.cafamily.org.uk or call the free-phone advice line on 0808 808 3555.