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Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - children

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

1. What is Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?

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 three.

If you are over 16 and you have care or mobility needs, you may be able to claim Personal Independence Payment guide instead. 

Type of benefit: Non means tested

Taxable: No

Administered by: Disability and Carers Service, Department for Work and Pensions

2. Can my child get DLA?

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.

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 Disability Living Allowance before your child reaches the age of three (for the higher rate) or five (for the lower rate).
 

3. How much DLA will my child get?

There are two parts of Disability Living Allowance. One is the care component if your child has care needs; the other is the mobility component if they have mobility problems. You may just qualify for one part or both.

Care component

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

  • Highest rate: £87.65
  • Middle rate: £58.70
  • Lowest rate: £23.20

Mobility component

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

  • Higher rate: £61.20
  • Lower rate: £23.20

Benefit Cap

If your child receives Disability Living Allowance, you will be exempt from the Benefit Cap which limits the total amount in some benefits that working-age households can receive. See our Benefit Cap guide for more details.

How will I be paid Disability Living Allowance?

Disability Living Allowance will be paid directly into your Bank, Building Society or Post Office account or by Simple Payment if you are unable to open or manage one of these or a similar account.

Disability Living Allowance is usually paid every four weeks.

Awards of Disability Living Allowance can be made for either fixed or indefinite periods but usually awards (payments) are made for a minimum of six months or longer if you carry on having care needs.

Disability Living Allowance and other benefits

If your child starts to get Disability Living Allowance, it might increase the amount of other benefits or credits you are entitled to. For example, you may get extra Housing Benefit or Child Tax Credit.

Disability Living Allowance is normally ignored as income for working out other benefits.

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

Motability

There is a scheme called Motability which helps 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 Disability Living Allowance.

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

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 or phone 0300 456 4566.

Updated: April 2019

 

4. How do I claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?

In England, Scotland or Wales

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

In Northern Ireland

Phone the Disability and Carer’s Service for a claim form:
Telephone: 0800 587 0912
Textphone: 0800 012 1574

Or you can download a claim form on the NIDirect website

What documents will I need to claim Disability Living Allowance?

You should give your national insurance number. If you do not have a national insurance number, send in the claim form anyway to save delays. You may also be asked for proof of your identity such as a birth certificate, passport or driving licence.

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.

When will the Disability Living Allowance claim begin?

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.

Change of circumstances

You must report changes in circumstance which might affect your child's entitlement to this benefit
 

5. How do I challenge a DLA decision?

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 known as a 'mandatory reconsideration'. If you still disagree with the further decision you can then appeal to an independent tribunal.

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
 

Updated February 2018