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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).

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, and Northern Ireland.

Children in Scotland can claim Child Disability Payment instead.

Age rules: Your child must be under the age of 16. For the low rate mobility component, they must be aged over five. 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 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 Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will my child get?

There are two parts of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). One is the care component if your child has care needs. The other is the mobility component if they have mobility problems. Your child 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 your child needs:

  • Highest rate: £92.40
  • Middle rate: £61.85
  • Lowest rate: £24.45

Mobility component

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

  • Higher rate: £64.50
  • Lower rate: £24.45

Benefit Cap

If your child receives DLA, 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?

DLA will be paid directly into your bank or building society account or through the Payment Exception Service if you are unable to open or manage one of these or a similar account.

DLA is usually paid every four weeks.

Awards of DLA 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 DLA, 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.

DLA is normally ignored as income for working out other benefits.

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


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 DLA.

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

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

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

Updated: April 2022


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

In England or Wales

Phone the Disability Living Allowance helpline for a claim form:

Telephone 0800 121 4600
Textphone 0345 722 4433
Monday to Friday, 8.00 am to 6.00 pm

Or you can download a Disability Living Allowance for children claim form on 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 Disability Living Allowance child claim form on the NI Direct 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 form, 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