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Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Key information

You can no longer make a new claim for Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

If you already receive DLA and were aged between 16 and 64 on 8 April 2013, you will eventually have to make a claim for Personal Independence Payment instead, even if you have been given an indefinite or lifetime award of DLA. This sheet explains how and when this will happen.

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age rules: You must be 16 or over but under 65 when you first claim.

If you have a child with an illness, injury or disability, see Disability Living Allowance - claiming for children. If you are 65 or over see Attendance Allowance

Type of benefit: Non means tested

Taxable: No 

Administered by: Pension, Disability and Carers Service



You can read through this information sheet, or go directly to the sections you want to read by clicking on these links:

PIP for those already receiving DLA

There will be no automatic transfer of existing DLA claimants on to PIP. At some point you will be contacted by DWP and invited to claim PIP. You will have to complete the PIP claim forms and will be assessed under the PIP criteria. This will probably involve a face to face assessment.

When you claim PIP your DLA will continue to be paid until the PIP claim has been decided, but if you do not make a claim for PIP within 28 days your DLA will be suspended.

If your DLA is suspended because no claim for PIP has been received, the DWP will write to you again. If you do not make a claim for PIP within another 28 days your entitlement to DLA will be terminated.

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When will DWP contact me about claiming PIP?

Since 28 October 2013 assessment for PIP has been carried out for some DLA claimants in certain areas:

  • If you have a fixed-term award of DLA which is due to expire
  • If you notify PDCS that there has been a change in your care or mobility needs
  • If you turn 16

See GOV.UKs PIP postcode map for details of the reassessment areas so far or GOV.UK's PIP checker (link opens in a new window) to see when you could be affected.

If you have an indefinite award of DLA and there is no change in your circumstances you will not be contacted before October 2015. See the Personal Independence Payment sheet for information about this new benefit.

If you are worried about how PIP will affect your DLA award please seek advice from a benefits adviser.

You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local one.

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Who does DLA help?

If you have extra care and/or mobility needs as a result of a disability, you could get DLA.

You must have had these care and/or mobility needs for at least three months before you claim DLA and expect to have them for at least six months after.

Care needs

If you have care needs, it means you need help with things like getting dressed, going to the toilet or cooking a main meal for yourself. Or you must be supervised so you do not get hurt. It could include help outside the home. It does not matter if you do not actually get this help as long as you can show you need it.

Mobility needs

If you have mobility needs, it means you cannot walk or you walk with difficulty. Or you cannot walk outdoors or on an unfamiliar route without help from someone else most of the time. This can be because of a physical or mental disability.  It does not matter if you do not actually get this help, as long as you can show you need it.

If you have a severe visual impairment, you will also be assessed on your mobility needs and you may qualify for the higher rate of the mobility part of DLA. See How much does it pay

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Rules for people who have a terminal illness

If you have a terminal illness, there are special rules to help you get the care amount in DLA without delay. If your doctors say that you are terminally ill and you are reasonably expected to die within six months, you can get the highest rate care amount in DLA straight away - you do not have to have care needs for three months before you claim or expect to have them for six months after. You will need to ask your doctor/healthcare professional for a form called a DS 1500 and fill in the special rules section of the DLA claim form.

If you have difficulty walking, you must also fill in the mobility section of the form.

Another person, such as your partner, relative or friend, can apply for DLA on your behalf without your knowledge under the special rules. Even if someone else makes the claim for you, the money will be paid to you.

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How much does it pay?

There are two parts of DLA. You could get either or both components.

Care component: This is paid at one of three different weekly rates depending on your care needs:

Higher          £81.30

Middle          £54.45

Lower           £21.55 

Mobility component: This is paid at one of two different weekly rates, depending on how difficult it is for you to get around:

Higher £56.75

Lower  £21.55

If you receive DLA you also qualify for a Christmas Bonus each year. This is usually £10. You do not need to make a claim for the bonus it is paid automatically. It does not affect any other benefits you might get.

If you qualify for the higher rate of the mobility part of DLA, you could also get help to buy or lease a car under the Motability scheme.

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How do I make a claim?

You can no longer make a claim for Disability Living Allowance if you are aged 16-64, see Personal Independence Payment instead.

If you have a child with an illness, injury or disability, see Disability Living Allowance - claiming for children.

If you are 65 or over see Attendance Allowance.

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The period of your award

If you are awarded DLA, the award will run for either a fixed period (eg from 10 July 2012 to 9 July 2014) or will be indefinite.

Most initial awards are for a fixed period. You will be invited to re-claim before the award expires.

You will have to claim the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead of DLA if your award expires after October 2013.

Even if you have an indefinite award, the PDCS may randomly select your claim for a periodic review. This is where they send you a review form to check if your condition or need for help has changed.

Challenging decisions

If you disagree with the decision made on your benefit claim you can ask for a written statement of reasons. If you still believe the decision is wrong, for example due to incorrect information being used, you can ask for it to be looked at again, and/or appeal.

The time limits are strict, you will usually be given one month to dispute a decision, so it is important to seek advice and act quickly.

Further information on Challenges and complaints

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Change of circumstance

You must report changes in your circumstances which might affect your entitlement to this benefit.

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Help to buy or lease a car (Motability)

There is a scheme called Motability available to you if you, or your child, are getting the higher rate mobility component of DLA.

This helps you to buy a car on hire purchase or lease one as the hire purchase or lease payments are covered by your DLA high rate mobility component which is usually paid direct to Motability.

You usually have to pay a deposit but might get help to pay this. 

If you lease the car, then insurance, breakdown cover, and repairs are included. Mileage up to a certain limit is included in the price as well.

If you cannot drive, or prefer not to drive, you can name up to two other people as drivers

Motability also offers a contract hire scheme for powered wheelchairs or scooters.

For more information, see the Motability website (link opens in a new window) or phone: 0845 456 4566.

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Further help

You can get further advice from the Disability Living Allowance Helpline. You can call them on: 08457 123 456 

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Benefit Cap and Disability Living Allowance

If you, your partner or your child receive Disability Living Allowance, you will be exempt from the Benefit Cap.

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Last updated: 27 January 2015

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