Ukrainian migrant support hub

A gateway for Ukrainian migrants and those who support them to access information, events and services.
Шлюз для доступу до інформації, подій та послуг для українських мігрантів та тих, хто їх підтримує.

Disability guide

If you have a disability, long-term health condition, or you’re struggling to do daily activities, there is a wide range of support from charities and the government.

Social care

Social care is practical support for for things like preparing food, washing, mobility and day to day tasks. The first step to getting social care is having a care needs assessment.

Where to get help
Search for support options
Getting a care needs assessment

A care needs assessment is where someone from your local council meets you to find out what your needs are, and to decide if you qualify for support. A social worker or other professional will ask you how you manage doing basic tasks. After this the council will decide whether you need help and what kind of support they can offer you.

1
Apply

To get a care needs assessment, contact your local council and ask to speak to Social Services, or Children's Services for a child.

If you have urgent care needs, tell them so that they can prioritise your assessment.

If you contact your council yourself, you can ask a friend or relative to request it for you.

Where to get help
Birmingham City Council
Adult Social Care Services
If someone is already caring for me, can they apply to get support?

Yes, they can ask the council for a free carer's assessment.

How long do I have to wait for the assessment?

After you have asked for an assessment, you will usually have to wait about 4-6 weeks before the assessment happens.

2
Prepare for the assessment

It can be useful to prepare for the assessment, so that you know what to expect and are ready to explain your care needs.

Where to get help
Search for support options
Can I get someone to help me with the assessment?

For many people it’s useful to have a friend or relative with you during the assessment, to help you feel confident and explain your situation to them. If you don’t have anyone that can do this, you may be able to find an advocy support service to help you with this process.

Where to get help
POhWER
Care Act Advocacy
3
Wait for the decision
How long will I have to wait?

There is no fixed time for how long a council should take to complete your needs asessment, but according to the Social Care Ombudsman it should take about 4-6 weeks, or more if you have complex needs.

You'll need to wait for the council to make their decision on whether you're eligible for support, and if so what support they will provide.

What if I'm not happy with the results of the assessment?

If you want to make a complaint about the assessment, the council should have a complaints procedure on their website that tells you how to do this.

If you've already complained to the council formally but the problem wasn't resolved, you can complain to the Social Care Ombudsman.

Where to get help
Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman
Adult Social Care Complaint
Search for support options
If I move to another council area, will I get the same support?

If you're already receiving support from your council and will be moving to a new council area, the support you’ll be able to get might be different from what you get now. Contact the council of the area where you will be moving to find out what will be different for you.

Will I have to pay for social care?

The care needs assessment is free.

If you do need care, you may need to pay towards some or all of the cost of your care. The council can arrange a financial assessment which will tell you how much you will need to pay.

Support for living with a disability

There are many organisations that support people and families affected by disabilities. These include national helplines run by Scope (for help with any kind of disability), and Mind (for help with mental health conditions). You can also find support options for a specific disability, as well as local charities and groups.

Where to get help
Scope
Telephone helpline
Mind
Infoline
Search for support options
Financial support

People with disabilities can get financial support from the government or charities. This could be regular disability benefits, grants, or discounts on council tax and vehicle tax.

Claiming benefits
1
Understand what is available for you

It is not easy to understand what you are entitled to. There are several benefits check websites which will take you through the important questions that determine what you can get, and then calculate what is available for you.

If you struggle with that, or your situation is complicated, there are also free specialist advice services who you can talk to.

Benefits check websites
Where to get help
Search for support options
How much can I get?

Benefits calculations are complicated – you will need to get a benefits check or advice to find out.

Can I apply for more than one type of benefit?

Yes – you should apply for any that you are eligible for.

2
Apply

Each type of benefits payment has its own route for applying – if you have done a benefits check or had advice you will have been given either the website or phone number to do this. If you believe you will be eligible for a benefit, you should apply as soon as possible, as you will get paid from the day you apply if you are successful.

How long will it be before I’m told their decision and get my first payment?

This depends on which benefits you have applied for. Simpler types of benefits such as Universal Credit will usually take around 5 weeks. Disability benefits can take anything from weeks to 6 months or more in complex situations. If your claim is accepted, you will be paid back for the period you were waiting for a decision.

What should I do if I’m waiting for a decision or first payment, and I’m in urgent financial need?
Benefits advances

Some benefit schemes will allow you receive your first payment earlier than scheduled. Once your scheduled payments start, they will then deduct part of this early payment from each month until it is paid back. 

Support from your local council

Most councils provide emergency financial support as either a one-off grant, or loan that you will need to repay.

Where to get help
Birmingham City Council
Discretionary Hardship Payments
What should I do if they refuse my application?

If you think they have made a mistake with their decision, you can challenge this. You can get free advice from a specialist benefits advisor to help you with this.

Where to get help
Search for support options
3
Maintaining your right to benefits

If you are receiving Universal Credit, you will be told what you must do to receive your payments – this may include attending regular appointments, and logging things you’ve done to find work using the online journal system that they will give you access to. If you are struggling to understand what you need to do, or you have an emergency and can’t make an appointment, you should let your work coach know as soon as possible. If you don’t, they may stop your payments.

Handling changes in circumstances

If anything changes in your life, such as a new job, a change in your income, you become ill, your partner leaves you, or you have a baby, you should contact the office that provides your benefits and let them know what has happened.

What happens if I don’t tell them?

You may miss out money that you would otherwise be entitled to if you don’t tell them. If the change will result in you getting less benefits, when they find out, you will have to pay them back for any amount you have overpaid. If they believe you have been intentionally dishonest, you could be in legal trouble.

Discounts for people with disabilities
Disabled person's travel pass

People with specific disabilities may be able to get a free bus pass for travel anywhere in England. There are rules which say who is eligible for this. It includes people who are blind, partially sighted, deaf, who can't walk easily, who can't talk, or who have a significant learning disability, as well as some other disabilities. You can read the eligibility criteria and apply online.

Disabled Persons Railcard

People with certain disabilities or medical conditions can get a discount card which makes travel by train cheaper. This card is valid for trail travel within England, Scotland and Wales.

Where to get help
National Rail
Disabled Persons Railcard
Exercise and leisure discount cards

Some councils have schemes that give you a discount for fitness or leisure centres, and local attractions. You can find out about the price and eligibility criteria from your council.

Where to get help
Birmingham City Council
Passport To Leisure
Education for people with disabilities
Children under 16

All publicly funded nurseries and schools have a responsibility to to help children with special educational needs and disabilities. The person to speak to at your school is called the ‘Special Educational Needs Coordinator’. They are responsible for planning the support for your child.

People aged 16 and over

Colleges and universities should have a staff member who you can talk to. Speak to them to find out about what support they can provide.

Employment

There is a government scheme called 'access to work' which provides money and other support to help people with disabilities or long-term health conditions to stay in work, or to find work. There are also other organisations that can help you overcome barriers that are making it hard for you to find work or stay in a job.

Where to get help
Search for support options
Getting around for people with disabilities
Public transport

There are schemes that offer discounted or free travel for people with disabilities.

Most public transport is accessible to wheelchair users, but it’s best to contact the travel company before travel to check if your planned journey will be possible and to reserve a space.

Transport for West Midlands offer advice for people travelling with accessibility needs, including free accessibility products. 

Free or discounted travel

If you have a disability you might be able to get a travel card. This will give you free or discounted travel on public transport.

Where to get help
Transport For West Midlands
Disabled Person's Pass
National Rail
Disabled Persons Railcard
Taxis

If you’re travelling by taxi, tell them when you book if you will need a wheelchair-accessible taxi.

Trains

There is support available at train stations for people with mobility needs, or who need help with luggage or getting around the station. This is called the 'Passenger Assist' service. The facilities at each station varies, so it's best to book this in advance.

Where to get help
National Rail
Passenger Assist
Coaches

Many coaches are accessible to wheelchair users, but it’s best to contact the coach company in advance to check if this is available, and to reserve a space.

Coach companies probably won’t accept mobility scooters unless they can be folded up.

Transport services

Many areas have community transport schemes which help people who have difficulty using public transport. These schemes might include a minibus or volunteer drivers.

Parking your car
Blue Badge Scheme

This is a national scheme that lets people with mobility problems park close to where they need to go.

Where to get help
Department For Transport
Blue Badge Scheme
Disabled parking pays

A disabled parking bay is a reserved area on the road for people who have a Blue Badge. If you would like to have a disabled parking bay near your home, you can apply through your council.

Getting a wheelchair or scooter

You can borrow a wheelchair or other mobility aids through the British Red Cross. Shopmobility rent these out for people to do shopping or visit leisure facilities in a town or shopping centre.

Disability discrimination

There are laws to protect the rights of people with disabilities. These cover areas of life including work, study, or going out in public to places like hospitals, shops and banks.

If you’ve been treated badly because of a disability, there are organisations that can give you advice on what to do.

Where to get help
Search for support options
Support for carers

If you regularly provide care for someone, there is support available to you. This could include training, group support, or financial support from the government. The first step to finding out if you can get support from the government is to have a Carer’s Assessment.

Where to get help
Search for support options
Getting a Carer's Assessment

A Carer's Assessment is where someone from your local council meets you to find out what your needs are as a carer, and decide if you qualify for support. The support that could be available includes training for you, financial support, equipment, help with tasks in the home, or respite breaks. 

A Carer's Assessment is free, and anyone who is providing regular unpaid care for someone can request it.

1
Apply

Contact social services at your local council and ask for a carer's assessment.

Where to get help
Birmingham City Council
Carer's Assessment
2
Prepare for the assessment

It can be useful to prepare for the assessment,  so that you know what to expect and are ready to explain the way providing care affects your life.

3
Wait for the decision

You'll need to wait for the council to make their decision on whether you're eligible for support, and if so what support they can provide.

What if I'm not happy with the results of the assessment?

If you want to make a complaint about the assessment, the council should have a complaints procedure on their website that tells you how to make a complaint. 

There may be organisations that can offer you advice on what you can do next.

Where to get help
Carers UK
Helpline
Can the person I support have an assessment?

Yes, they can ask the council for a free care needs assessment.

Getting a care needs assessment

A care needs assessment is where someone from your local council meets you to find out what your needs are, and to decide if you qualify for support. A social worker or other professional will ask you how you manage doing basic tasks. After this the council will decide whether you need help and what kind of support they can offer you.

1
Apply

To get a care needs assessment, contact your local council and ask to speak to Social Services, or Children's Services for a child.

If you have urgent care needs, tell them so that they can prioritise your assessment.

If you contact your council yourself, you can ask a friend or relative to request it for you.

Where to get help
Birmingham City Council
Adult Social Care Services
If someone is already caring for me, can they apply to get support?

Yes, they can ask the council for a free carer's assessment.

How long do I have to wait for the assessment?

After you have asked for an assessment, you will usually have to wait about 4-6 weeks before the assessment happens.

2
Prepare for the assessment

It can be useful to prepare for the assessment, so that you know what to expect and are ready to explain your care needs.

Where to get help
Search for support options
Can I get someone to help me with the assessment?

For many people it’s useful to have a friend or relative with you during the assessment, to help you feel confident and explain your situation to them. If you don’t have anyone that can do this, you may be able to find an advocy support service to help you with this process.

Where to get help
POhWER
Care Act Advocacy
3
Wait for the decision
How long will I have to wait?

There is no fixed time for how long a council should take to complete your needs asessment, but according to the Social Care Ombudsman it should take about 4-6 weeks, or more if you have complex needs.

You'll need to wait for the council to make their decision on whether you're eligible for support, and if so what support they will provide.

What if I'm not happy with the results of the assessment?

If you want to make a complaint about the assessment, the council should have a complaints procedure on their website that tells you how to do this.

If you've already complained to the council formally but the problem wasn't resolved, you can complain to the Social Care Ombudsman.

Where to get help
Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman
Adult Social Care Complaint
Search for support options
Financial support

If you spend a lot of time each week caring for someone, you might be able to get regular benefits payments.

Claiming benefits
1
Understand what is available for you

It is not easy to understand what you are entitled to. There are several benefits check websites which will take you through the important questions that determine what you can get, and then calculate what is available for you.

If you struggle with that, or your situation is complicated, there are also free specialist advice services who you can talk to.

Benefits check websites
Where to get help
Search for support options
How much can I get?

Benefits calculations are complicated – you will need to get a benefits check or advice to find out.

Can I apply for more than one type of benefit?

Yes – you should apply for any that you are eligible for.

2
Apply

Each type of benefits payment has its own route for applying – if you have done a benefits check or had advice you will have been given either the website or phone number to do this. If you believe you will be eligible for a benefit, you should apply as soon as possible, as you will get paid from the day you apply if you are successful.

How long will it be before I’m told their decision and get my first payment?

This depends on which benefits you have applied for. Simpler types of benefits such as Universal Credit will usually take around 5 weeks. Disability benefits can take anything from weeks to 6 months or more in complex situations. If your claim is accepted, you will be paid back for the period you were waiting for a decision.

What should I do if I’m waiting for a decision or first payment, and I’m in urgent financial need?
Benefits advances

Some benefit schemes will allow you receive your first payment earlier than scheduled. Once your scheduled payments start, they will then deduct part of this early payment from each month until it is paid back. 

Support from your local council

Most councils provide emergency financial support as either a one-off grant, or loan that you will need to repay.

Where to get help
Birmingham City Council
Discretionary Hardship Payments
What should I do if they refuse my application?

If you think they have made a mistake with their decision, you can challenge this. You can get free advice from a specialist benefits advisor to help you with this.

Where to get help
Search for support options
3
Maintaining your right to benefits

If you are receiving Universal Credit, you will be told what you must do to receive your payments – this may include attending regular appointments, and logging things you’ve done to find work using the online journal system that they will give you access to. If you are struggling to understand what you need to do, or you have an emergency and can’t make an appointment, you should let your work coach know as soon as possible. If you don’t, they may stop your payments.

Handling changes in circumstances

If anything changes in your life, such as a new job, a change in your income, you become ill, your partner leaves you, or you have a baby, you should contact the office that provides your benefits and let them know what has happened.

What happens if I don’t tell them?

You may miss out money that you would otherwise be entitled to if you don’t tell them. If the change will result in you getting less benefits, when they find out, you will have to pay them back for any amount you have overpaid. If they believe you have been intentionally dishonest, you could be in legal trouble.

Respite holidays & breaks

If you’re a carer there are several options for getting a break from your caring responsibilities. Getting a carer's assessment is a first step to finding out what kind of breaks you could be eligible for.

Getting a Carer's Assessment

A Carer's Assessment is where someone from your local council meets you to find out what your needs are as a carer, and decide if you qualify for support. The support that could be available includes training for you, financial support, equipment, help with tasks in the home, or respite breaks. 

A Carer's Assessment is free, and anyone who is providing regular unpaid care for someone can request it.

1
Apply

Contact social services at your local council and ask for a carer's assessment.

Where to get help
Birmingham City Council
Carer's Assessment
2
Prepare for the assessment

It can be useful to prepare for the assessment,  so that you know what to expect and are ready to explain the way providing care affects your life.

3
Wait for the decision

You'll need to wait for the council to make their decision on whether you're eligible for support, and if so what support they can provide.

What if I'm not happy with the results of the assessment?

If you want to make a complaint about the assessment, the council should have a complaints procedure on their website that tells you how to make a complaint. 

There may be organisations that can offer you advice on what you can do next.

Where to get help
Carers UK
Helpline
Can the person I support have an assessment?

Yes, they can ask the council for a free care needs assessment.

Getting a care needs assessment

A care needs assessment is where someone from your local council meets you to find out what your needs are, and to decide if you qualify for support. A social worker or other professional will ask you how you manage doing basic tasks. After this the council will decide whether you need help and what kind of support they can offer you.

1
Apply

To get a care needs assessment, contact your local council and ask to speak to Social Services, or Children's Services for a child.

If you have urgent care needs, tell them so that they can prioritise your assessment.

If you contact your council yourself, you can ask a friend or relative to request it for you.

Where to get help
Birmingham City Council
Adult Social Care Services
If someone is already caring for me, can they apply to get support?

Yes, they can ask the council for a free carer's assessment.

How long do I have to wait for the assessment?

After you have asked for an assessment, you will usually have to wait about 4-6 weeks before the assessment happens.

2
Prepare for the assessment

It can be useful to prepare for the assessment, so that you know what to expect and are ready to explain your care needs.

Where to get help
Search for support options
Can I get someone to help me with the assessment?

For many people it’s useful to have a friend or relative with you during the assessment, to help you feel confident and explain your situation to them. If you don’t have anyone that can do this, you may be able to find an advocy support service to help you with this process.

Where to get help
POhWER
Care Act Advocacy
3
Wait for the decision
How long will I have to wait?

There is no fixed time for how long a council should take to complete your needs asessment, but according to the Social Care Ombudsman it should take about 4-6 weeks, or more if you have complex needs.

You'll need to wait for the council to make their decision on whether you're eligible for support, and if so what support they will provide.

What if I'm not happy with the results of the assessment?

If you want to make a complaint about the assessment, the council should have a complaints procedure on their website that tells you how to do this.

If you've already complained to the council formally but the problem wasn't resolved, you can complain to the Social Care Ombudsman.

Where to get help
Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman
Adult Social Care Complaint
Search for support options
Who will look after the person I’m caring for?

You might be able to find friends or family members who can do your caring responsibilities while you take a break. Another option is to hire a paid care worker.

The person you're caring for might also be able to go into short-term residential care.

Who will pay for the costs of taking breaks from caring?

During your carer's assessment you can ask if there is financial support for you to take breaks. You could also see if there are any grants available, or get advice from a charity about what options might be available.

Where to get help
Carers UK
Helpline
Getting a Carer's Assessment

A Carer's Assessment is where someone from your local council meets you to find out what your needs are as a carer, and decide if you qualify for support. The support that could be available includes training for you, financial support, equipment, help with tasks in the home, or respite breaks. 

A Carer's Assessment is free, and anyone who is providing regular unpaid care for someone can request it.

1
Apply

Contact social services at your local council and ask for a carer's assessment.

Where to get help
Birmingham City Council
Carer's Assessment
2
Prepare for the assessment

It can be useful to prepare for the assessment,  so that you know what to expect and are ready to explain the way providing care affects your life.

3
Wait for the decision

You'll need to wait for the council to make their decision on whether you're eligible for support, and if so what support they can provide.

What if I'm not happy with the results of the assessment?

If you want to make a complaint about the assessment, the council should have a complaints procedure on their website that tells you how to make a complaint. 

There may be organisations that can offer you advice on what you can do next.

Where to get help
Carers UK
Helpline
Can the person I support have an assessment?

Yes, they can ask the council for a free care needs assessment.

Getting a care needs assessment

A care needs assessment is where someone from your local council meets you to find out what your needs are, and to decide if you qualify for support. A social worker or other professional will ask you how you manage doing basic tasks. After this the council will decide whether you need help and what kind of support they can offer you.

1
Apply

To get a care needs assessment, contact your local council and ask to speak to Social Services, or Children's Services for a child.

If you have urgent care needs, tell them so that they can prioritise your assessment.

If you contact your council yourself, you can ask a friend or relative to request it for you.

Where to get help
Birmingham City Council
Adult Social Care Services
If someone is already caring for me, can they apply to get support?

Yes, they can ask the council for a free carer's assessment.

How long do I have to wait for the assessment?

After you have asked for an assessment, you will usually have to wait about 4-6 weeks before the assessment happens.

2
Prepare for the assessment

It can be useful to prepare for the assessment, so that you know what to expect and are ready to explain your care needs.

Where to get help
Search for support options
Can I get someone to help me with the assessment?

For many people it’s useful to have a friend or relative with you during the assessment, to help you feel confident and explain your situation to them. If you don’t have anyone that can do this, you may be able to find an advocy support service to help you with this process.

Where to get help
POhWER
Care Act Advocacy
3
Wait for the decision
How long will I have to wait?

There is no fixed time for how long a council should take to complete your needs asessment, but according to the Social Care Ombudsman it should take about 4-6 weeks, or more if you have complex needs.

You'll need to wait for the council to make their decision on whether you're eligible for support, and if so what support they will provide.

What if I'm not happy with the results of the assessment?

If you want to make a complaint about the assessment, the council should have a complaints procedure on their website that tells you how to do this.

If you've already complained to the council formally but the problem wasn't resolved, you can complain to the Social Care Ombudsman.

Where to get help
Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman
Adult Social Care Complaint
Search for support options
How do I know if I'm a carer?

If you regularly look after someone because they're ill, disabled or they're an older person, it means you're a carer. Even if the person you're looking after is part of your family, this still counts as being a carer.