Families of children with disabilities forced to make sacrifices

Posted in: Corporate

September marks three years since the first child trust funds (CTFs) matured, yet young people who lack mental capacity are having their health compromised because they can’t access their own savings.

Approximately £160 million is locked in 80,000 CTF accounts belonging to those with mental incapacity, despite disabled people needing a higher income to live.

Meanwhile, disability charities have brought attention to why the additional costs that disabled people face are heightening the cost-of-living crisis for these families.

Since September 2020, OneFamily has been leading a campaign to make it easier for those with mental incapacity to access their CTFs. Parents or guardians of these young adults currently have to go through the Court of Protection process (CoP), which is often costly, lengthy and stressful.

OneFamily introduced its own process to help customers with mental incapacity gain access to their savings in a quicker and safe way.

To date, OneFamily has helped more than 1,000 young adults with mental incapacity access their money, with average accounts worth £2,200. Only 15 young adults accessed their funds through the Court of Protection in 2021.*

The organisation campaigned for the Government to adopt these changes to help young people access their funds. The Mental Capacity Act Small Payments Scheme, based on the exceptions process, was presented to the Government in November 2021. After a long consultation period, the scheme was rejected earlier this year.

OneFamily continues to campaign for changes to the current law, which is needed more than ever due to the cost-of-living crisis.

While many people are feeling the effects of the current financial climate and in need of extra cash, families are having to make decisions that could affect the health of their disabled young adult.

Rebecca Torricelli, who works at OneFamily and has a physical disability, said “My energy bills are extortionate as I have to charge my wheelchair every night and permanently run medical equipment through the main power source of my house.

“If you need adaptions in your home the waiting list is often several years, so I have had to pay for certain equipment and adaptions myself to ensure I can live safely in my home.

“There are so many additional costs that disabled people experience, and I am lucky to be able to work full-time to support myself financially. For those with mental incapacity whom working is not an option, access to their own funds would make the world of difference right now.”

Recent research by various disability charities has revealed the difficult choices disabled families are having to make.

A report by Scope showed that, on average, a disabled person needs an additional £975 per month, excluding benefits, to maintain the same standard of living as an able-bodied person.

Disability charity Contact, found nearly 4 in 5 disabled families had to reduce their energy usage because they couldn’t afford bills. Almost half couldn’t keep their home warm enough for their disabled child, and 39% had to cut back or stopped using disability equipment.

Those in receipt of disability benefits have received a £150 payment to provide extra support, but 80% of disabled people said the Government’s Cost of Living Payments have not been enough to meet the increased costs.**

Teddy Nyahasha, CEO of OneFamily said, “The sacrifices disabled families are having to make due to financial difficulties is simply not right. For some, the solution to the problem is sat in their own savings accounts that they cannot access. All guardians of these vulnerable young adults want to do is give them the best possible quality of life. Providing access to the child trust fund accounts will help tens of thousands of young adults ensure their needs can be cared for.”


* UK Parliament (2023) Almost a million young adults entitled to Unclaimed Child Trust Funds … Available at: (Accessed: 23 August 2023).

**Veruete-McKay, L., Scheulke, L., Moss, C. and Davy, C. (2023). The Disability Price Tag 2023 Technical report. [online] Scope , Scope, pp.3–29. Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2023].

Contact. (n.d.). Out of Energy. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Mar. 2023].

Notes to Editors

About OneFamily

OneFamily is a member-owned financial services company that offers lifetime ISAs, lifetime mortgages, junior ISAs, child trust funds, bonds and over 50s life cover.

We have over 45 years’ experience of being a trusted provider of financial solutions, with nearly 2 million customers and over £5.5 billion in funds under management at the end of 2022.

We are the UK’s biggest child trust fund provider, holding over 25% of the market.

Supporting our members and their communities

At OneFamily, we’re owned by our members for our members – and doing right by them is at the heart of our business.

We don’t have shareholders to pay dividends to, so we reinvest our profits to provide quality products and services for the benefit of our members.

We think that financial products should be accessible to everyone regardless of how much money they have to invest. That’s why our products have low investment levels and minimum contributions, giving more people the opportunity to save regardless of their circumstances.

Inspiring Better Futures

Our Inspiring Better Futures vision underpins our commitment to doing the right thing at every level for our members and customers, colleagues and communities.

The Inspiring Better Futures vision is built on 3 pillars – Members and customers, colleagues and communities.

Our focus is on long-term sustainability, so we can continue to be relevant and impactful to our members and communities.

Access to education and training

The costs of further education and training can be a barrier to many young people and their families. This is why we offer OneFamily customers the opportunity to apply for a Young Person’s Education Grant of up to £250 – for someone aged 15-19 – to help meet these costs, when they would otherwise struggle without financial assistance. The grant can be used towards study materials, specialist uniform, travel costs or a laptop/tablet.

Applications are open throughout the year, and grants are awarded following a random computerised draw.

We’ve improved the lives of over 3,400 people through our individual grants since 2015.

Charity partnerships

Supporting our communities has been a key focus of ours for many years. We’ve established partnerships with local and national charities that champion access to education and improving life chances for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.