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World Autism Awareness Day: providing support for autistic people

Boy with autism learn weather using cards, teacher hold hands and point to correct one

Ahead of World Autism Awareness Day we are urging autistic people and parents of autistic children, to check if they are eligible for disability payments and other benefits that we deliver.

Autism can impact people’s day to day to life in different ways, which can create additional costs. Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment can be used to cover basic costs such as travel, energy or food. It can also help pay towards more specialist things like equipment, technology or taking part in leisure activities, which can help improve the quality of life for autistic people.

Heather who applied for Child Disability Payment for her son who has autism and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) said:

“Before applying for Child Disability Payment, my son was struggling. He found school very hard and didn’t think he was good at anything. He couldn’t focus, didn’t have friends and was worried he’d never be able to get a job. His self-esteem was so low.

“Child Disability Payment allowed me to buy him a computer and pay for outdoor school sessions. That might not sound like much but it’s changed his life.

“The outdoor school lets him learn in much smaller groups and in an active way that suits his brain. The computer and the games have let him learn new skills including maths, something he found impossible before.

“He’s also discovered he’s exceptionally good at games. That’s given him something to feel proud of for the first time and something to talk to other children about.

“He’s now talking about becoming a game developer or working for a big tech company.

“It if wasn’t for Child Disability Payment there’s no way I could have afforded any of that and he’d still be the same boy who cried every night not wanting to go to school.

“I’d urge any parent or carer who thinks they might be eligible to look into applying for Child Disability Payment.

“The process is much simpler than you might think and the money could change your child’s life.”

When developing our disability benefits, we worked with eligible people to make sure the process was straightforward as possible, more accessible and easier for people to apply.

Our application forms asks easy to understand questions about the person’s condition, including pictures to help provide further guidance. Autistic people can also be assured that during the decision-making process our client advisers can get advice from our team of experienced health and social care practitioners. This means decisions are supported by people who have a full understanding of autism and how it can impact on daily life.

Paula Blair, Senior Practitioner at Social Security Scotland, said:

“The definition of Autism has changed over the decades and may continue to change as we understand more.

“Each application we receive is reviewed separately and decisions are focused on the individual needs of the person applying as autism can include a range a different circumstances.

“Being able to tailor decisions on each application with the help of expert knowledge from our in-house health and social care practitioner ensures that they receive financial help that is specific to how their disability impacts their day to day life.”

Autistic adults and parents of autistic children may also be eligible for other benefits:

  • Child Disability Payment is extra money to help with the costs of caring for a disabled or terminally ill child or young person. For families caring for an autistic child, this could be used to help pay for things like noise cancelling headphones.
  • Adult Disability Payment is extra money to help people who have a long-term illness or a disability that affects their everyday life. This money could be spent on things like taking part in autism-friendly activities or technology to support studying, work or daily life.
  • Scottish Child Payment – £25 every four weeks to help towards the costs of looking after each child under 16 for families who get certain benefits.
  • Child Winter Heating Assistance is an automatic payment to help the most severely disabled children and young people and their families with increased heating costs over winter. This could help a family to stay warm during colder months.
  • Winter Heating Payment - a yearly payment to help people on low income benefits who might have extra heating needs during the winter.

To find out more about these benefits and apply online, over the phone or to book an appointment to apply in-person, people can visit or call us free on 0800 182 2222.

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