Below are a selection of the benefits available to you to help you look after yourself and your autistic child. Some do not require you to have a diagnosis for your child before applying.
Bristol Pink Card
You can get a pink card from Bristol City Council by adding your child to the Disabled Child Register. It can be used as proof of disability and to get a carer’s discount at many local attractions. You do not need a diagnosis to get a Pink Card, and it generally arrives within a week. Click here to apply.
South Glos Network Card
The Network is for disabled children/young people who live in South Gloucestershire. The details on it can only be accessed by authorised council staff and NHS South Gloucestershire staff to send out relevant information to families, to plan appropriate services and consult with parents and disabled children/young people. Signing up to the network is voluntary but it enables you to receive mail outs such as details of holiday activities, play schemes and information about service developments. Click here to learn more
A carer’s assessment is carried out by your local authority to find out ways to help you in your caring role.
In Bristol: ring the Integrated Carer’s Team on 0117 352 1668, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit:
Integrated Care Team leaflet
Further information about Carer’s Assessments
Carer’s Allowance is a weekly benefit to help you look after someone with substantial caring needs. You don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for. You must be 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for them. To find out if your are eligible for and to apply for Carer’s Allowance, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/apply-carers-allowance
Carer’s Emergency Card
The Carer’s Emergency Card is a free service that can provide up to 72 hours of emergency support to the person cared for in the event of their carer having an accident or emergency. The Carer’s Emergency Card Benefit Scheme means you can use your card to get a discount at a wide range of places.
Click here to learn more
CEA Cinema Card
The CEA card entitles the carer of a disabled person (over the age of eight) to go free. To apply for a CEA card, please visit: http://www.ceacard.co.uk/
Children’s Hospital Passport
The Children’s Hospital Passport is a document to help children with disabilities when going to hospital. The aim of the Hospital Passport is to provide staff with information about your child during a hospital visit. This information will help them work in partnership with you in meeting your child’s needs when using hospital services. Click here to learn more Not in Bristol? Click here instead
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Do you cross the Clifton Suspension Bridge often? For those who receive the high rate mobility element of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), you can apply for an annual pass for just £10. To obtain the pass, visit this page for an application form
Disabled Rail Card
Anyone in receipt of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at either the higher or lower rate for the mobility component, OR the higher or middle rate for the care component is eligible for one. Click here to read more.
Disabled Parking Badge
To apply for a blue parking badge, please visit the GOV.UK site: https://www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge.
In Bristol, to apply for a disabled parking space outside your home, you must have a blue parking badge and use the application form found here: Bristol disabled person parking bay and line scheme.
Disability Living Allowance
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a non-means-tested benefit that may help with the extra costs of looking after a child with additional needs. The DLA rate is between £21.80 and £139.75 a week and depends on the level of help the child needs. You do not need a diagnosis for your child to apply for DLA. To learn more, visit https://www.gov.uk/disability-living-allowance-children/overview
Marriage Tax Allowance
Marriage Allowance lets you transfer £1,100 of your Personal Allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner – if they earn more than you. This reduces their tax by up to £220 in the tax year (6 April to 5 April the next year).
Click here to learn more and apply
Personal Independence Payments
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if you’re aged 16-64. It replaces DLA for this age groups. The rate is between £21.80 and £139.75 a week and is dependent on how a conditions affects the person, not the condition itself. For more information, visit the GOV.UK page on PIP and also the PIP Factsheet from Contact A Family
The Safe Journey Card and Better Journey Card help bus passengers with additional needs tell the driver what extra assistance they require. Whatever the need, these cards may be used to let the driver know in a private and discreet way. There are even blank spaces to fill in details of the destination or special instructions. Click here to learn more about bus accessibility.
A radar key opens the doors of many disabled toilets across the UK. It can be useful to have a radar key if your child needs more space, or you cannot use the toilet yourself without taking your child in with you.
Click here to purchase a radar key
Free parking at Southmead Hospital
The Carer’s Support Centre has agreed a deal with Southmead Hospital. As a result, all unpaid carers can now park for free in the car park and can apply for a card that will allow them access to the ward and staff canteen.
Click here to learn more
Help with Benefits
There are several charities and organisations that can help you get to grips with benefits and how to apply for them:
Talking Money is a charity that has staff to help with benefits queries.
Your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau can help you with benefits forms and guidance.
There are also several local Advice Centres that may be able to help you:
North Bristol Advice Centre (Lockleaze)
South Bristol Advice Centre (Withywood)
East Bristol Advice Centre (Fishponds)
St Paul’s Advice Centre
ACFA (various locations)
South Glos ‘One Stop Shops’ (various locations)
Various charities and organisations can help you fill out the DLA application. Contact a Family, the Citizens Advice Bureau , WECIL and Carers Support Centre all offer this service. Cerebra also have an excellent DLA Guide. You don’t have to face it alone!
Current benefit rates
Here is a document from Social Welfare Training, explaining what the current benefit rates are for families: Social Welfare Training – Benefit Rates Poster – 2017-2018 (PDF)