WREXHAM’S Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, has welcomed a new pilot project in Wales aimed at helping families with disabled children claim the benefits they are entitled to.
The AM was commenting on the £500,000 pilot scheme – funded by the National Assembly for Wales – which will look at the most effective ways of increasing household incomes of families with disabled children.
The project will see Citizens Advice Cymru deliver the campaign to increase benefit uptake as part of its existing Wales-wide Better Advice Better Health initiative.
Families with disabled children are much more likely to be in poverty because of the higher costs involved in bringing up a child with a disability. This is often exacerbated by a loss of income associated with either being a lone parent or, in two-parent families, the need in many cases for one of the parents to give up work.
It is estimated 29,000 families with disabled children in Wales are not claiming the disability living allowance they are entitled to.
This means 62% of those who are eligible are not claiming a potential £109.50 per week, the equivalent of more than £160m of lost benefit across all of Wales.
Under the project, Citizens Advice Cymru will work closely with disability organisations to ensure that appropriate, expert advice is made available to families with disabled children.
Families will be referred to the project in a number of ways, including through GPs, health visitors and social workers, specialist schools, integrated children’s centres, carers organisations and disability groups.
Ms Griffiths said: “It is important that children with disabilities are given every opportunity in life to meet their full potential.
“Hopefully, at the end of this pilot, more such families will be helped out of poverty.”