Family Fund - supporting families in need with HMRC services

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Family Fund is a charity dedicated to supporting families who are raising disabled or seriously ill children. As a member of the Online Centres Network, they've been delivering the HMRC Advice and Guidance programme, ensuring that families in the most difficult circumstances have access to the HMRC services and benefits that can make their lives even just a little easier.

These are the stories of just some of the families they've supported through the programme.

Julie's story

Charlie has a range of developmental delays which impact on his ability to learn and to co-ordinate his movements. His mum, Julie, is a single parent and has to budget carefully to make sure the family get what they need: “My son suffers from bedwetting. I’m not sure if it’s part of his condition but it results in never-ending washing; having to replace sheets, pyjamas and bedding regularly. I am a single mother of 3 and find it a real struggle.”

Through the Work IT Out programme, Family Fund helped Julie apply for the extra tax credit payment and also explained the help she might be able to receive from Family Fund. As well as helping with the costs of extra washing, the extra tax credits have benefited the family in other ways: “I have been able to start paying for judo lessons for Charlie which is great for his co-ordination. I couldn't afford this before the increase in my tax credits.”

Joanne's story

Joanne contacted Family Fund after they promoted the Work IT Out programme on Facebook. Her son has DiGeorge syndrome – a rare condition which means he needs a lot of support both day and night. We supported Joanne to apply for the extra payment of tax credits – as she feeds back below this payment has made a huge difference to family life – so much so that it has allowed them to move home to accommodate the needs of their children.

“I have two children and my two-year-old has a range of medical needs, including a tracheostomy, which means he needs to be monitored overnight so that we are alerted if his tube blocks or comes out. He is also tube fed. He is currently sharing a room with us because we live in a two-bedroom house and the monitors that he uses at night would disturb his sister. I followed the advice I was given by the Family Fund and have just recently received a pretty large back payment for the disability element which means we can now afford to move to a house where my son can have his own bedroom instead of sharing with us!

"This money has helped us with the deposit for the new house – we wouldn’t have been able to find this on our own. The ongoing extra payment we will get will also help us cover the extra costs we face every month because of our son’s needs – like needing to have extra heating, electricity and the travel costs to appointments at Alder Hey Hospital, which is a 2 hour drive for us from home. We are so grateful for this advice and extra help.”

Clare's story

Clare contacted Family Fund in October 2015 to see what additional support her family might be eligible for. The family were already receiving Child Tax Credits as well as Disability Living Allowance for their son who had recently been diagnosed with Autism. Clare’s family were managing on a very tight budget. She felt her son would benefit from extra help but this was often difficult to afford.

Family Fund was able to advise Clare about the Disabled Child Element of Tax Credits, which she now receives.

“The extra Tax Credit payment has helped tremendously towards extra expenses such as diesel costs going to appointments and training courses for my son; the extra telephone phone calls to arrange appointments and to apply for help in school for my son, and also take him to activities that will help him. It has helped relieve some financial stress at an already stressful time.”