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Disability Living Allowance - claiming for children

Key information

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is money for children who have care needs or mobility needs (difficulty getting around). 

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age rules: Your child must be under the age of 16. For the low rate mobility component they must be aged over five, and for the high rate mobility component they must be aged over 3

Type of benefit: Non means tested

Taxable: No

Administered by: Pension, Disability and Carers Service

Please note: if you are an adult with an illness, injury or disability, see Personal Independence Payment

 

Index

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

Who does it help?

If your child has extra care and/or mobility needs as a result of a disability, you could get DLA for them:

Care needs

Your child has care needs if they need help with ‘bodily functions’, for example, eating, washing, getting dressed and going to the toilet. These care needs can also include help which allows your child to take part in social activities. Your child has to need more care and attention than other children of the same age. However, this extra condition only applies if your child is under 16 when their Disability Living Allowance starts. It no longer applies when the child reaches the age of 16.

Mobility needs

Your child has mobility needs if they cannot walk outdoors or go on an unfamiliar route without guidance or supervision from someone else. For example, this might apply if your child is blind, is unable to walk or has a lot of difficulty walking.  Your child may also be treated as having mobility needs if they have severe learning difficulties or severe behavioural problems.

You cannot claim the mobility part of DLA before your child reaches the age of three (for the higher rate) or five (for the lower rate).

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What help does it provide?

DLA is money that you can spend as you want for your child's needs. It is usually paid into your bank or building society account. You can be paid at a post office in some cases. It is paid as long as your child has mobility or care needs.

If your child gets DLA, you might qualify for Carer’s Allowance and for help from the Motability scheme.

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How much does it pay?

There are two parts of DLA. One is the care part if your child has care needs. The other is the mobility part if they have mobility problems. You can get either or both.

Care component: This is paid at one of three different weekly rates depending on how much care is needed:

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.

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How do I make a claim?

Paper Claim

Phone the Disability Living Allowance helpline for a claim form:

Telephone 0345 712 3456

Textphone 0345 722 4433

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Or you can download a claim form from the Gov.UK website (link opens in a new window)

In Northern Ireland

Phone the Disability Living Allowance helpline for a claim form:

Telephone 0345 712 3456

Textphone 0345 722 4433

Phone the Disability and Carer’s Service for a claim form:

Telephone: 028 9090 6182
Textphone: 0800 24 37 87

Download a claim form from the NI Direct website (link opens in a new window)

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What documents will I need?

You must give your national insurance number and evidence of who you are, for example, a driving licence or birth certificate. 

Part of the form must be filled in by someone who knows about your child's disability. This could be a friend, relative or carer.

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Can it be backdated?

A claim for DLA cannot be backdated. The date of your claim will be the date you call and ask for a claim form as long as you complete and return it in the time given. If you download a claim it will be the date your completed claim form is received.

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Challenging decisions

If you disagree with the decision made on your child's 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 circumstance which might affect your child's entitlement to this benefit

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Help to buy or lease a car (Motability)

There is a scheme called Motability available to people who are getting the higher rate mobility part of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or war pensioner’s mobility supplement.

This helps adults who qualify to buy a car on hire purchase or lease one and parents to hire a car on behalf of a child who is over three years of age and getting the higher rate mobility part of DLA.

A contract hire scheme for powered wheelchairs or scooters is also offered through Motability.

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

The hire purchase or lease payments are met by your Disability Living Allowance high rate mobility component which is usually paid direct to Motability.

If you lease the car, then insurance, breakdown cover, and repairs are included. Mileage up to a certain limit is included in the price but after that you have to pay per mile you drive.

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

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Further help

  • The Benefits Enquiry helpline can give you general information about DLA. Call them on: 0800 882 200.
  • Once you have made a claim, you can get advice about DLA from the Disability Living Allowance helpline who should have access to your records. Call them on: 08457 123 456.   
  • Contact a Family, the national charity that helps families that have a child with disabilities, has useful information on Disability Living Allowance for children

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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 which will be introduced from April 2013.

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Last updated: 7 April 2014

Find an Adviser

If you need help with a claim use this tool to find an adviser in your area.

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