Disability living allowance

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who:

  • Is under 16 (for people receiving DLA born after 8 April 1948 and aged 16 or over please see the leaflet 'DLA is ending')
  • Has difficulties walking or needs more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability

It is made up of two parts, your child might qualify for one or both components.

Care component

The rate the child gets depends on the level of looking after they need, eg:

  • Lowest rate - help for some of the day or night
  • Middle rate - frequent help or constant supervision during the day, supervision at night or someone to help while they’re on dialysis
  • Highest rate - help or supervision throughout both day and night, or they’re terminally ill

Mobility component

The rate the child gets depends on the level of help they need getting about, eg:

  • Lowest rate - they can walk but need help and or supervision when outdoors
  • Highest rate - they can’t walk, can only walk a short distance without severe discomfort, could become very ill if they try to walk or they’re blind, severely sight impaired

DLA is not means-tested so it does not matter what income or savings you have. Instead any decision to award DLA will be based solely on your child's condition and how this impacts on their need for help with personal care and/or getting around.   You can claim DLA even if your child does not have a diagnosis - it is sufficient that they have some form of disability even if this has not yet been formally diagnosed.

Getting DLA can help you qualify for extra amounts of other means-tested benefits and tax credits.  If you're getting child tax credit and your child is awarded DLA (or if an existing DLA award is increased to the highest rate for personal care), make sure you tell the tax credits office within one month of getting this DLA decision.  So long as you do this, any extra tax credits should be backdated in line with the DLA award.

Terminal illness

There are special rules if the child is not expected to live more than six months, so they can get DLA more quickly. You must:

  • Complete a DLA claim form
  • Include a DS1500 medical condition report with your claim form or send it soon after - these are free and you can only get them from a doctor, specialist or consultant

Claiming DLA

Use the DLA1A form to apply for DLA. The form tells you where to send your application.  You can also order a printed form by calling the Disability Living Allowance helpline on:

Telephone: 0345 712 3456

Textphone: 0345 722 4433

Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm

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