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Family Fund

The following information has been taken from the Family Fund website and consolidated into one post for your information......

Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.

We provide grants for a wide range of items, such as washing machines, sensory toys, family breaks, bedding, tablets, furniture, outdoor play equipment, clothing and computers. It can be a struggle financially, emotionally and physically for families raising a disabled or seriously ill child, and these grants help break down many of the barriers families face, improving their quality of life and easing the additional daily pressures.

Who do we help?

We help families across the UK who are raising a disabled or seriously ill child or young person aged 17 or under. You can apply to Family Fund if:

  • You live in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales (Please note: If you are a family living in Wales, please visit our Wales application pages to apply.)

  • You are the parent or carer of a disabled or seriously ill child or young person aged 17 or under (read our disability criteria).

  • You have permanent legal residency in the UK and have lived in the UK for the last six months.

  • You have evidence of entitlement to one of the following: Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit*, Employment Support Allowance*, Housing Benefit and Pension Credit.

  • If you do not receive any of the above, you can still apply, but we will need some extra information about your household income. Depending on what money you have coming into your home we may not be able to help as we have to prioritise helping those on lower incomes. If you are not in receipt of any of the above benefits, you will need to provide additional information and evidence of your whole household income and we will contact you after you have applied. If you would like to ask any questions or discuss it before you apply please do contact us.

Why is there an income limit?

All our grants are discretionary and subject to available funding, so we may decline an application where a family has a significant level of capital or household income.

Where we are unable to help

We are unable to help children and young people in local authority care, including those living with foster carers. This is because local authorities have a general duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of any child in its care, and to meet the needs of the child.

We are also unable to help with requests where a statutory agency (such as local authorities or health services) has a responsibility to provide the item needed.

What is Family Fund's disability criteria?

Family Fund has limited funding, therefore we are unable to help all families caring for a disabled child or young person.

We use our own disability criteria to determine whether a child is eligible. This means that Disability Living Allowance (DLA) awards are not an indicator that a child would be eligible for a Family Fund grant

You do not need to wait for a diagnosis for your child to make an application for a grant if you think your child may meet the criteria below.

You may also wish to read our general eligibility criteria.


Children and young people must have a severe disability with additional complex needs, or have a serious or life threatening illness. There must be evidence that the child or young person’s additional needs impact on a family’s choices and their opportunity to enjoy ordinary life. The degree of planning and support required to meet their needs must also be much greater than that usually required to meet the needs of children and young people. They must require a high level of support in three or more of the following areas:

  • The physical environment

  • Education

  • Communication

  • Access to social activities

  • Personal care, supervision and vigilance

  • Specialist resources, including information and communications technology, are required

  • Medical or therapeutic treatment and condition management

The child or young person’s condition must be long term or life limiting. By long term we mean lasting or likely to last 12 months or more.

Children with a confirmed diagnosis of certain conditions which may be degenerative, life limiting or life threatening are likely to meet the Fund’s disability criteria. For example, a child with a confirmed diagnosis of a degenerative syndrome, or a child with a current diagnosis of cancer or leukaemia.

Children are not likely to meet Family Fund's criteria where their main or only difficulty is one of the following:

  • They have eczema, asthma or allergies

  • They have specific educational difficulties – such as dyslexia, dyscalculia or poor literacy

  • Their condition is stable and managed through medication, diet, monitoring, testing bloods or transfusions and there have been no recent medical crises as a result of their condition.

What can we apply for?

As a parent or carer, you know what your child or family might need to help them. We will look at any grant request that relates to the needs of a disabled or seriously ill child, young person and their family. This might be furniture, clothing, bedding, kitchen appliances, sensory toys, computers or tablets, a family break, or maybe something to help with college for 16 and 17 year olds. Read some of our families’ stories to see what sort of things other people have been helped with.

When applying, think about what would make a difference. If you would like to request more than one item please make sure you add your requests with the most important items first. We will consider your grant requests in order of priority. We try to help as many families as possible but we may not always be able to help with all items requested.

Apply for a grant

If you’re applying for the first time

If you’ve applied before

You may be able to apply online.

The application form and brochure contain all the information about how to fill in the form and what documents (photocopies only please) you need to include.

We accept one application per household, so if you are making an application on behalf of more than one child, please complete an additional child form for each child you are applying for.

Remember, we can only help families once every 12 months. Your last award letter will include information about when you can next apply. Please be aware if you have applied to us online more than three times in a row you may be asked to complete a paper application form.

If you are unsure about any of the information provided or need further help, please contact us.

After you apply

For first-time applications

It usually takes around three to four months for us to complete your application but this timescale is approximate and not guaranteed. The actual time to deal with an application will depend on the volume of applications we have and the funding available at any particular time.

If you’ve applied before

It usually takes us six to eight weeks to make a decision on your application once we have all the information requested but this timescale is approximate and not guaranteed. The actual time to deal with an application will depend on the number of applications we receive and the funding available at any particular time.

To be fair to families, all applications are looked at in date order.

If your application is taking longer than expected, please contact us or you can log in to your online account to monitor progress.

Once your grant has been awarded, you can see more information about how you can use it here.

What can hold up an application?

If your application form is incomplete or missing copies of the required documents, then your application will be returned to you for completion. We are unable to consider an application until it is received fully complete.

When looking at your application we may need to request further information. If we require additional information we will contact you by phone or in writing. This information will be required in order for us to continue to consider your application.

If your application is unsuccessful

A family can ask for any decision on an application to be reconsidered. This is called an appeal. If you are not happy with the decision on your application, please contact the Grants Services Manager asking for the decision to be looked at again, giving reasons and any additional information.

Appeals and complaints must be made within two months of the date of the decision or issue.


“My child was eligible last time – will they always be eligible for help?”

We confirm whether a child meets our disability criteria each time an application is made. Although children may meet our criteria initially, this may change over time due to medical intervention, medication, dietary or other management of their condition or as they get older.

“My child was not eligible for help before. Can I apply again?“

Although a child may not meet our criteria and be eligible for help at first, this can change over time and they may well come within our criteria later on. Or a child’s condition may have deteriorated since last time and you now feel they would meet our criteria.

Remember - If you are in doubt as to whether your child or young person would meet Family Fund's criteria, please apply. When we receive your application, we will check that it meets all our eligibility criteria.

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