Family Fund’s story
Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity, providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people. It took part in Good Things Foundation's HMRC Advice and Support programme.
Funded by HMRC, our Advice and Support programme equips community partners to upskilling learners to independently use HMRC’s digital services. Community partners like Family Fund help support digital financial inclusion in their local communities by offering support to learners, helping them understand and navigate HMRC’s digital services.
To help understand the impact of the HMRC Advice and Support programme, Family Fund sent an evaluation survey to families receiving information and support to access the Disabled Child Element of Child Tax Credit between September 2020 and February 2021.
Alice, who works in Service Delivery at Family Fund, spoke to some of the team responsible for supporting families directly.
She says: “Our delivery officers felt that the service continues to be really valuable, and that whilst many families they speak with are aware of their additional entitlements with HMRC, there are still a good number who had no idea.”
Of the 158 families who completed the evaluation survey, three in five families (59%) who went on to receive the Disabled Child Element of Child Tax Credit were not aware of this benefit prior to receiving HMRC Advice and Support from Family Fund.
Almost nine in 10 families (88%) report receiving the Disabled Child Element of Child Tax Credit after having gone through the application process with HMRC, with a further 4% still awaiting a decision on their application.
“Without it I don't think we would survive. Our child has coeliac disease and the price of her food is very expensive, so we just wouldn't be able to get by otherwise."
A quarter of families (24%) obtaining the Disabled Child Element of Child Tax Credit as a result of the programme received an additional £65 per week.
Moira, a family fund employee who managed to support a family to identify a significant sum in unclaimed entitlements, says: “It’s good to hear that when we advise families of this they are able to give little treats to the children – whether that’s better quality food or something else they need.”
“It has given me more money to buy things Kevin needs, like clothes – as he chews through all the sleeves and collars.” Parent supported by Family Fund
Two thirds of families (68%) receiving the Disabled Child Element of Child Tax Credit following Family Fund’s support were unsure of award level.
The average weekly award for those receiving the Disabled Child Element of Child Tax Credit following our support was £81 per week.
Families receiving the Disabled Child Element of Child Tax Credit reported experiencing a wide range of outcomes. The most prominent outcome, reported by more than half of families (56%), focused on being able to afford more of the essential items they need.
Other outcomes reported by families included being able to spend more quality time together (40%), their children being able to play and have fun more regularly (38%), and better understanding of their benefits entitlement (38%).
Almost nine in 10 (88%) of those receiving the Disabled Child Element of Child Tax Credit said it helped improve the health and wellbeing of members of their family.
The impact the HMRC Support and Advice service has had on households supported by Family Fund is truly life-changing.
“We got a year backdated! It was amazing, I was able to buy new beds and furnishings for the kids bedrooms, pay overdue rent, and get plenty of extras on food shopping. A lot of stress was lifted. Thank you.”
A spokesperson from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs said: “It’s incredibly rewarding to see the differences being made to families in need – with the help of Family Fund and Good Things Foundation.”
A spokesperson from Family Fund said: The information and support we’re able to give to families around child tax credits and the difference it makes is really valuable to us. We’ve also seen customer service development in terms of how we deliver this kind of support over the years too. For example, some officers initially felt uncomfortable asking families about their entitlements, feeling it could be invasive. They worked with the management team to reframe this and change the way they asked the question. The difference this has then made has been amazing for families.”