The Disability Living Allowance is a state benefit that is offered to support parents and carers who look after a child with physical or mental disabilities.
The Disability Living Allowance can be given to those with a range of medical conditions including mental health conditions, behavioural conditions, or learning disabilities. Claims are based on a child's needs rather than their particular condition or disability.
Many parents who are eligible to claim the Disability Living Allowance do not claim it as they think their child would not qualify. People often find that they are eligible to claim it even if they wouldn't consider their child to be disabled.
We are going to take a look at the Disability Living Allowance, what it is, who it is for, and what care needs qualify for it to be claimed.
There aren't specific illnesses that do or do not qualify for the Disability Living Allowance. Instead, claims are based on the claimant's mobility and/or care needs. You can also claim the Disability Living Allowance in cases of a terminal illness.
You can now only claim Disability Living Allowance if your child is under the age of 16. There are other welfare support schemes for older claimants.
The Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a government benefit that provides money for young people who have care or mobility needs as a result of a physical or mental disability or health condition. You may also claim the care component of the DLA if you are terminally ill.
The DLA is paid every four weeks and is comprised of weekly payments. You can claim between £24.45 and £156.90 per week to help look after a child who has a health condition or a disability.
The DLA isn't means-tested, which means that how much you earn from your job has no bearing on the amount of DLA you receive.
There is also no obligation to spend the money on anything specific, you can spend it on whatever helps you the most.
The amount of DLA you receive is determined by two components - the 'care component' and the 'mobility component'. The care component is for children who require additional help throughout the day or night. The mobility component is for children who have mobility issues and cannot get around by themselves.
Each component is broken into groups that offer different rates depending on the needs. Some children are eligible to claim both components.
Disability Living Allowance rates 2022 (Care component)
|Care component||Weekly rate||Level of help you need|
|Lowest||£24.45||Help for some of the day or with preparing cooked meals|
|Middle||£61.85||Frequent help or constant supervision during the day, supervision at night or someone to help you while on dialysis|
|Highest||£92.40||Help or supervision throughout both day and night, or a medical professional has said you might have 6 months or less to live|
Disability Living Allowance rates 2022 (Mobility component)
|Mobility component||Weekly rate||Level of help you need|
|Lower||£24.45||Guidance or supervision outdoors|
|Higher||£64.50||You have any other, more severe, walking difficulty|
The care component is based on how much care and supervision your child needs because of their disability or condition.
Care needs may include needing help with getting dressed, going to the toilet, or cooking for themselves. It can also mean needing supervision in certain circumstances to ensure that they don't get hurt.
You will receive the higher rate of £92.40 if your child:
- needs care or supervision frequently throughout both the day and night
- has been diagnosed as terminally ill and a doctor has confirmed that they are not expected to live more than 6 months
You will receive the middle rate of £61.85 if your child:
- needs care or supervision throughout either the day or the night
- gets renal dialysis twice or more a week. This is a process of removing toxins from the blood and kidneys.
You will receive the lower rate of £24.45 if your child
- needs extra care throughout some of the day but not at night.
Mobility needs mean that you either cannot walk or you have trouble walking. This may be due to either mental or physical disability.
The mobility component is based on your child’s ability to walk and how hard they find it to get around places that they don’t know well.
Children must be aged 3 or over to qualify for the mobility component.
You will receive the higher rate of £64.50 if your child:
- can’t walk at all
- suffers severe discomfort when they walk outside
- would be put in danger if they were to walk
- has no legs or feet
- is blind or severely sight impaired
- is both deaf and blind
You will also receive the higher rate of £64.50 if your child:
- has a severe learning disability or other mental impairment
- has an impairment that results in disruptive or dangerous behaviour
- is entitled to the highest rate care component
The lower rate of the mobility component is usually given to children who can walk but have difficulty in walking or navigating places that are unfamiliar to them.
The lower rate is for children who are aged 5 and over.
You will receive the lower rate of £24.45 if your child:
- needs someone with them to guide or supervise them on unfamiliar routes
- needs more help getting around than other children of the same age
If your child qualifies for the middle rate care component, they can also get the lower rate mobility component.
Claimants with a terminal illness must have a doctor complete a DS1500 form to claim the maximum care allowance.
If your child has been given six months or less to live, they will qualify for the care component. If your child is terminally ill but has longer to live, it is best to speak to your doctor to find the best option for you.
New claimants for the Disability Living Allowance must be under the age of 16.
Children under the age of 16 are eligible to claim for the Disability Living Allowance if their disability means that they need a lot more care, attention, or supervision than a child of the same age who isn't disabled. Or if they have difficulty walking or navigating unfamiliar places, compared to a child of the same age who isn't disabled.
To claim the care component, the child must be aged three or over.
To claim the mobility component, the child must be aged five or over.
You must have had the care or mobility needs for at least three months before you claim and expect to have them for at least six months after.
This is not the case with terminal illness claimants. In this instance, claimants only need a referral from a doctor stating that they have six months left to live to instantly receive the maximum care needs allowance.
If you already claim DLA and you were born before April 8th 1948, you will continue to receive it for as long as you need it.
If you already claim DLA and you are over the age of 16 and born after April 8th 1948, your DLA will soon end and be replaced by either PIP or Attendance Allowance.
These are other welfare benefits that are for adults with disabilities or health conditions.
You do not need to do anything until you receive a letter informing you of your next steps.
Here we will take a look at a step-by-step guide on how to claim DLA if you believe your child would qualify for it.
Check your child's eligibility
You are eligible to claim DLA if your child:
- needs more care, attention or supervision than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability or health condition
- has difficulty walking or getting around outdoors in unfamiliar places
Many people do not think that their child would qualify for DLA when they actually do.
Complete an application form
You can either download an application form from the UK government's website or phone for one.
Telephone: 0800 121 4600
You should make a copy of your form as you may need it at a future date, for example, if you reapply for DLA in a few years.
Completed forms should then be sent to:
Disability Benefit Centre 4
Post Handling Site B
Log your child's condition
Keep a journal of child's condition for a few weeks before you submit your application form. Make a note of any difficulties they have, the help you gave, and how long it all took.
The diary can be used to help with the form and can even be submitted alongside it if you feel it is necessary.
Wait for a response letter
You should then receive a response letter or a text within two weeks from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that acknowledges they have received your claim.
You should then receive a decision letter within three months that will tell you how much you will get and for how long. If your claim is unsuccessful, the letter will explain why.
The letter you receive may say that your child needs to attend an assessment to evaluate the level of help they need. You must attend the assessment to be in full receipt of the benefit.
DLA is a support allowance that helps a child's parent or carer if the child has additional needs due to a physical or mental disability.
Claims are based on a child's care or mobility needs rather than specific illnesses.
Many parents do not think their child would be eligible for DLA when in actual fact they would.
If you believe your child should be claiming DLA, fill out an application form and send it off as soon as possible.