Your transport needs should be a key part of your care plan as this can make a real practical difference to how well you can manage daily life with your family.
Disability Living Allowance; Mobility Allowance
When applying for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) you will be asked questions on your child’s ability and safety to walk to assess their eligibility for a mobility allowance. The mobility allowance is paid in with the DLA payments every four weeks. Children over the age of 16 can apply for Personal Independence Payments instead.
Tel: 0800 121 4600
You might also be able to join the Motability Scheme which enables disabled people to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair by exchanging their Government funded mobility allowance.
This useful web page entitled “How the Motability Scheme Works” gives information about travel and transport for those with disabilities and/or mobility problems.
There is an associated scheme for children under three, more details can be obtained from Family Fund.
Please note that Motability need to be informed when a child dies, as the car will need to be returned. They can be contacted on 0300 456 4566, by using live chat or by completing a form.
Blue Badge Scheme
The Blue Badge Scheme is an arrangement that gives a range of parking concessions to disabled motorists and to parents of disabled children over the age of three, although it is available to younger children with specific medical conditions. You may also be eligible for discounts on Road Tax.
Details on how to apply are here.
Home to school journeys
Your Local Authority have responsibility for supporting eligible families with help for home to school journeys. Do contact your Local Authority in the first instance if your child’s school is not supporting you with this. For advice and information on home to school transport see the Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA) website.
Helpline: 0300 222 5899 (Wednesday 9:30am – 3:30pm, Friday 9:30am – 12:30pm)
Some children are eligible for transport to and from medical appointments if they have an eligible medical need. For example, for children who need to travel in an ambulance. Check on your appointment letter for contact details to book this or ask the Hospital Department directly.
The Young Patients Fund in Scotland provides help with getting to and from hospital when your child is in for a stay.
Car parking at hospital
Most hospital car parking charges were abolished in Wales in 2008 and Scotland in 2009. Hospitals in England and Northern Ireland now provide free car parking to groups that may be frequent hospital visitors, or those disproportionately impacted by daily or hourly charges for parking, including: Blue Badge holders and frequent outpatients who have to attend regular appointments to manage long-term conditions.
Please note, Blue Badge spaces are often limited so do allow plenty of time to park before appointments.
Free parking will also be offered at specific times of the day to certain groups, including: parents of sick children staying in hospital overnight. Check with your hospital if they are using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems, which use camera technology to scan car number plates or ticket or token systems where eligible people can then redeem free parking or receive a refund.
All public transport providers must provide an accessible service. In practice, you may not be able to use their service at all times or without a staff member to help you. You have different rights depending on whether you’re on a train, taxi, bus or coach. Some areas also publish a guide to accessible transport services. Scope has a handy guide on finding accessible public transport.
Charities that may support you getting around
Whizz-Kidz provide disabled children with customised mobility equipment, training, advice and life skills, giving them the independence to be themselves.
Tel: 0207 233 6600
They provide short term support to families when their child is in hospital, including help with transport costs. Contact your hospital support worker or nurse to apply.
React Children’s Charity
React Children’s Charity help families caring for a child with an illness which is life-threatening or has the potential to shorten their lifespan. Their purpose is to provide assistance in situations where none is available elsewhere.
Tel: 0208 940 2575