Disability Living Allowance
What is Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is the main benefit for disabled children and is there to help meet any extra costs of being disabled. It is not means tested so your financial situation will not be taken into account. DLA is also not taxable or treated as income for other benefits.
Any ill or disabled child may be able to qualify, even those who don’t have a diagnosis.
You have to show that your child needs substantially more care, attention or supervision than other children of the same age who don’t have a disability or health condition.
Your child will also need to have had the extra care or mobility needs for at least three months and be expected to have them for at least six months more. This means the earliest DLA can be paid from is three months of age.
The DLA claim is made up of two ‘components’ – Care and Mobility
You can claim the care component if your child needs help with ‘personal care’, that is, looking after themselves and this includes things like keeping safe and communication. You can claim this part of the benefit at any time, as long as your child has needed the extra help for at least three months and will continue to need that help for at least another six months. There are three rates at which it can be paid:
The lower rate: if your child needs some help during the day. This is currently £21.55 per week.
The middle rate: if your child needs more help during the day or at night. This is currently £54.45 per week.
The high rate: if your child needs help day and night. This is currently £81.30 per week.
The higher rate: if your child’s ability to get around is severely restricted by their disability. It is payable to children from the age of three who are unable to walk independently. Children meeting this rule are likely to have a severe physical or sensory impairment, a life threatening neurological, cardiac or respiratory disorder, or the most severe autism and learning disability. If your child is coming up to three years old and already receives the care component of DLA at the higher rate, you should be contacted and asked if you wish to make a claim for the mobility component. This is currently £56.75 per week.
The lower rate: if your child needs someone around to keep them safe or someone to help them find their way around. It is payable to children from the age of five. Many primary age children are still learning how to get about and stay safe on streets and in parks near their homes. So, to get this you will need to show how much more help your child needs than others of the same age. Most children meeting the criteria for the lower rate mobility component are likely to have a significant learning or co-ordination difficulty, a communication disorder or some sensory impairment. This is currently £21.55 per week.
You can download the form from the website or you can call 0800 121 4600 to request a form. It’s best to get the forms from the Disability and Carers Service as the Department for Work and Pensions will then stamp the form with the date you phoned to ask for it. As long as you send it back within six weeks and it’s successful, the claim can start from that date, meaning a back payment for you.