Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) can only be claimed for children under the age of 16 who need assistance with their personal care, supervision to keep them safe, or have difficulty with their mobility.
DLA can also increase the amount of Income Support, Universal Credit, and Housing and Council Tax benefit you are entitled to or get you one of these benefits for the first time.
Important information for adults with a disability
If you are aged between 16 and 65 you can no longer make a fresh claim for Disability Living Allowance. You will need to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead. Some adults still receive DLA and will at some point be invited to transfer to PIP.
If you are an adult with a disability that affects your daily living activities or mobility, please see the webpage about Personal Independence Payment for more details of how to claim PIP. The rest of this page deals with claiming DLA for children only.
Disability Living Allowance has two components: a care component and a mobility component.
The care component
To qualify for the care component the child must meet the disability conditions for three months before they are entitled.
The child's needs are substantially in excess of the normal requirements of a non-disabled child of the same age.
The three rates for the care component are:
- Lower rate (£24.45 a week) - This is awarded if the child needs help with personal care or some supervision to keep them safe at intervals during the day.
- Middle rate (£61.85 a week) - This is awarded if the child needs help with personal care or supervision to keep them safe throughout the day or for a good part of the night.
- Higher rate (£92.40 a week) - This is awarded if the child needs personal care or supervision needs during both the day and the night.
The mobility component
There are two rates of the mobility component. The lower rate can only be awarded from the child's fifth birthday and the child must have the difficulties for three months beforehand.
The higher rate can be awarded from the child's third birthday and the child must have the difficulties for three months beforehand.
- Lower rate (£24.45 a week) - This is for children who need guidance or supervision when walking outdoors in unfamiliar places, more than a child of the same age would usually need.
- Higher rate (£64.50 a week) - This is for children who have physical disabilities which limit their walking.
It can take into account any pain or discomfort, whether they walk more slowly, and only for a short distance.
Special rules for terminally ill children
There are special rules in place if a child is not expected to live longer than six months which allow DLA claims to be processed more quickly. You include a DS1500 report from the child's GP or specialist with the DLA form and the application will be fast-tracked.
How to claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Contacting the Disability living Allowance helpline on 0800 121 4600 or download the Disability Living Allowance Claim Form.
You have six weeks to return the claim form. You may want to take a copy of the completed form for your records.
Tips on completing the form
- Describe in detail the extra help your child needs to do everyday things such as bathing, dressing
- Describe any extra support they receive at school
- Include any help they need to play, to explore or to understand their school work
- It can help to keep a diary for a week to note down all the extra help you provide
- Think about what a non-disabled child would normally do - for example all young children need supervision but your child might need much closer supervision
- Include any rest and recovery that is needed after every day tasks because of pain or exhaustion
- If you have any recent letters from your child's GP, hospital specialist, or any specialist health service you should send in a copy with the form
If you are unhappy with the decision you can ask for it to be reconsidered within one month of the date on the decision letter. This deadline can be extended if there are special circumstances.
Explain why you think the decision is wrong and send in any doctors or specialists letters you have which support your claim.
If you are not happy with the outcome of the reconsideration you can appeal the new decision to an independent tribunal. If you are a resident of County Durham, the Welfare Rights Service can help you to appeal and might also be able to represent you at an appeal hearing.