Children and Families Policy Research Unit


NIHR Children and Families Policy Research Unit


Case Study: Health Economics

Family finances and disability: the cost of raising children with disabilities

Health Economics

What is the real cost to families of raising a child with a disability?

For families of children with disabilities, life can seem impossibly complicated. For example, finding specialist childcare so that parents can work may be a costly and insurmountable hurdle.

There are 770,000 disabled children under the age of 16 in the UK - that's around 1 in every 20 children. The UK Government offers those families much-needed financial support, but research is required to ensure this is correctly targeted. A project under the CPRU's health economics cross-cutting theme investigated the issue.

Key Points:

  • We quantified the cost of having a disabled child in the family
  • In 2011/2012, an additional income of £18-25 per week was required to achieve the same living standards as similar families without a disabled child 
  • Caring for a child with a mental disability cost more than caring for a child with  a physical disability, and more research is needed to understand why

Read more:

This case study is from the Health Economics Cross Cutting Theme.