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Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is money for people who have extra care needs or mobility needs (difficulty getting around) as a result of a disability. If you are 16+, you can no longer make a new claim for DLA You may be able to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead.

1. What is Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is money for people who have extra care needs or mobility needs (difficulty getting around) as a result of a disability. There are two parts called components, the care component and the mobility component, you may qualify for one or both of these.

You can no longer make a new claim for DLA if you are 16 or over. You may be able to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead. If you have a child with an illness, injury or disability, see our Disability Living Allowance - children guide

If you already get DLA, you will be transferred onto Personal Independence Payment (PIP), even if you have been given an indefinite or lifetime award of DLA, unless:

  • You are in England, Scotland or Wales and you were born before 8 April 1949; or
  • You are in Northern Ireland and you were born before 20 June 1951.

If you do not already get DLA and you are 65 or over, you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance instead.

Applies to: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

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

Type of benefit: Non means tested

Taxable: No

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

2. Can I get Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?

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

Care needs

You have care needs if 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

You have mobility needs if 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. 

Rules for people who have a terminal illness

If you have a terminal illness and your doctors say that you are reasonably expected to die within six months there are special rules which mean you can get the highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance 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 Disability Living Allowance claim form. If you have difficulty walking, you must also fill in the mobility section of the claim form.

Another person, such as your partner, relative or friend, can apply for Disability Living Allowance 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.

Updated March 2017

 

3. How much Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will I get?

Care component

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

  • 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

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.

Benefit Cap

If you or your partner 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.

If you go into hospital, your Disability Living Allowance payment will stop after four weeks.

Disability Living Allowance and other benefits

If you start 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.

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

If you get Disability Living Allowance, someone who cares for you might qualify for Carer’s Allowance.

Help to buy or lease a car (Motability)

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

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

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.

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.

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

For more information, see the Motability website or phone on 0300 456 4566.

Updated: April 2019

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

 

You can no longer make a new claim for DLA if you are 16 or over. You may be able to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead. If you have a child with an illness, injury or disability, see our Disability Living Allowance - children guide

If you already get DLA, you will be transferred onto Personal Independence Payment (PIP), even if you have been given an indefinite or lifetime award of DLA, unless:

  • You are in England, Scotland or Wales and you were born before 8 April 1949; or
  • You are in Northern Ireland and you were born before 20 June 1951.

If you do not already get DLA and you are 65 or over, you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance instead.

Change of circumstances

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

Updated March 2017

5. How do I challenge a Disability Living Allowance (DLA) decision?

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 the DWP to looked at the decision again.  This is called a mandatory reconsideration.  If you don't agree with the mandatory reconsideration decision you can make an appeal to the Tribunal Service which is independent of the DWP.  See our Challenging Department for Work and Pensions Decisions guide for further information.

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