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Practical support

Family Fund

The Family Fund is a registered charity that helps low-income families who look after a severely disabled child aged 17 or under. The Family Fund is backed by the government and can provide grants for things like:

  • family holidays
  • computers
  • washing machines to help with extra washing needs
  • hospital visiting costs

Family Fund grants are discretionary. The fund has a fixed annual budget and you're not automatically entitled to help. You will not get a grant from the fund if a statutory agency (such as a local authority) is responsible for helping with the item you need.

Eligibility criteria

The Family Fund can consider your family for a grant if:

You can find full details of eligibility criteria on the Family Fund website.

Severely disabled children

The Family Fund has its own definition of severe disability, so check your child meets its criteria. These are:

  • The child must have additional complex needs or a serious or life-threatening illness.
  • The child’s additional needs must affect the family’s choices and opportunity to enjoy an ordinary life.
  • The degree of planning and support required to meet the child's needs must 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 some of the following areas: physical environment, education, communication, access to social activities, personal care and supervision.
  • The child’s condition must be long term or life limiting.

How to apply

You can apply if you're the parent of or have parental responsibility for the child and you live with the child.

If this is your first application to the Family Fund, fill in an application pack. You can get an application pack from the Family Fund website or by calling 0845 130 4542.

If you've applied before, you may be able to apply online.

How grants are given

You may receive a grant in any of the following ways:

  • paid directly into your bank account
  • on a payment card
  • direct from specific suppliers
  • for holidays - you may get a grant for a self-catering package at a designated holiday park or to use at a particular travel agent. Alternatively, you may get a grant for a holiday you have planned yourself, but you will have to give the fund details.


You can appeal if your request for a grant is refused, but appeals must be made within three months of the date of the decision.


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Page last reviewed: 21/03/2013

Next review due: 21/03/2015

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