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DLA for children aged up to 16 years old

What is DLA?

DLA is a benefit paid to children with disabilities.  It is paid on top of almost any other household income and can give the family or carers access to other types of help.

DLA is divided into two parts:

  •  A care component – for help with personal care needs, paid at three different levels; Highest rate - £82.30 per week, Middle rate - £55.10, Lowest rate - £21.80 (April 2015/16).

  •  A mobility component – for help with walking difficulties, paid at two levels; Highest rate - £57.45 per week, Lower rate - £21.80 (April 2015/16).

You can be paid either the care component or the mobility component on its own, or both components at the same time.
DLA is for the disabled child not for a carer or parent, although it may well be paid directly to a parent or carer.  You can claim DLA for a child as long as you care for them as if you’re their parent. “Parent” includes step-parents, guardians, grandparents, foster-parents, and even older brothers or sisters. A child can qualify for DLA whether or not they have someone helping them: what matters are the effects of their disability and the help they need, not whether they already get that help. They are free to spend their DLA on anything they like that will help with their disability.  They may be asked to undergo a medical assessment to work out what level of DLA they can claim and will have to satisfy criteria known as “Disability Tests” which are an assessment of their care needs. They will also need to:

  • be within the age limits

  • meet the qualifying periods condition

  • pass the residence and presence tests, and not be subject to immigration control

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for DLA for children the child must:

  •  be under 16

  •  need extra care compared to other children their age without a disability and/or have walking difficulties

  • they must have had these difficulties for at least 3 months and expect them to last for at least 6 months.  If terminally ill (i.e.: not expected to live more than 6 months) they don’t need to have had these difficulties for 3 months.


You may receive a letter saying that the child needs an assessment to check eligibility. The letter will explain why and where they must go and what paperwork you must bring as proof of identity for yourself and the child (e.g.: passport or birth certificate).


How do I claim DLA?

The claim pack is based on self-assessment. Copies of the claim pack are available on line at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/eservice/ or a copy can be sent to you by post (form DLA1 Child) by contacting:

Disability Living Allowance Helpline - Opening hours: Monday - Friday 8am – 6pm.

Tel: 0345 712 3456
Textphone: 0345 722 4433
Processing your claim

DLA can be backdated to the date of your claim.  This is usually to the date that your form was received or the date you called the enquiry line (if you return your claim pack within 6 weeks of that date).  The normal time period to process your claim is 40 working days. Claims can be processed quicker if the child is terminally ill.

Special Rules – for children who are terminally ill

Children who are not expected to live more than six months are able to make a claim under “Special Rules” so that you are able to get DLA more quickly. To do this you must:

  • Complete the DLA form

  • Include a DS1500 form – you can only get these from a doctor, specialist, or consultant

Change of circumstances

It is your responsibility to inform the DWP of any change in your circumstances that may affect the child’s eligibility to claim and how much they may receive. For example they may need more help, may go into hospital, or may move home or abroad.  Usually their DLA will not be affected if they go:

  • Into hospital or a care home for less than 4 weeks

  • Abroad for less than 26 weeks

  • Abroad to get medical treatment for a condition which began before they left



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