Don’t Miss Out
Daphne Hall, Disability Alliance
ISBN 1903335361, £7 (or £3.50 for individuals claiming benefits)
STAR RATING: 4/5
This excellent publication from Disability Alliance carries the subtitle A Guide to Benefits and Services for Disabled Children and their Families. And that is exactly what it is, writes Gary Vaux.
In less than 60 pages, the author has fitted in all the key information on benefits, education and social work provision for disabled children and carers. Obviously, this means that short-cuts have had to be taken and in places the guide can do little more than signpost the parent or professional to what the child is entitled to. The information on disability
living allowance for example doesn’t attempt to address in detail what advisers know to be the “growth area” in benefits advice for children with disabilities – ADHD, autism and related conditions.
There are a few small errors and the book also has a relatively arbitrary cut-off point at age 16. But these are minor quibbles when set against the overwhelming value of the guide overall.
Disability Alliance will be rectifying the latter problem by bringing out a companion guide for young people aged 16 and over in January 2007.
The benefits information alone merits the purchase price, giving a clear guide to DLA, carer’s allowance, tax credits and so on. It is presented in a clear style and this is emphasised further by a series of bullet point summaries.
When writing benefit guides, there is always a danger of either over-simplification or overelaboration, and Disability Alliance has steered a very careful path between these twin rocks.
I would recommend the guide to parents, and any professional or voluntary group working with disabled children.
Gary Vaux is head of money advice at Hertfordshire council and Community Care’s welfare rights expert