Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Disability Living Allowance – (DLA)

If you were born on or before 8th April 1948 and have an existing claim for DLA, then you may be able to continue claiming. However, any new claimants who are aged over 65 must claim AA (Attendance Allowance) instead, new claimants aged 16 – 64 may be able to claim PIP (Personal Independence Payment). DLA is still able to be claimed by children up to the age of 16. Their claim can be submitted by a parent or carer acting on behalf of the child, the DLA will be awarded to the child depending on their level of need.


DLA for children aged up to 16yrs 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 - £85.60 per week, Middle rate - £57.30, Lowest rate - £2.65 (April 2017/18).


  • A mobility component – for help with walking difficulties, paid at two levels; Highest rate - £59.75 per week, Lower rate - £22.65 (April 2017/18).

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 if 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


Do you qualify? - 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.

Further information available from https://www.gov.uk/disability-living-allowance-children/eligibility .



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).


Change of circumstances

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


  • Into a local authority care home for less than 28 days
  • Go into hospital
  • Abroad for less than 13 weeks
  • Abroad for less than 26 weeks to get medical treatment for a condition which began before they left


Making a claim

The claim pack is based on self-assessment. Copies of the claim pack are available online at: https://www.gov.uk/disability-living-allowance-children/how-to-claim or a copy can be sent to you by post by contacting:

Disability Living Allowance Helpline – for children aged under 16 - Opening hours: Monday - Friday 8am – 6pm.

Tel: 0800 121 4600

Textphone: 0800 121 4523


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 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


Further Information

All payments of DLA will be paid into an account e.g.: your bank, post office or building society account. You may also be entitled to extra Universal Credit if a child you care for gets DLA.

If the child is turned down for DLA or you are unhappy with the decision about how much they can claim then you can appeal for the decision to be reconsidered, this is called a Mandatory Reconsideration.



Help & Care offer a range of services and factsheets to older people, carers, and disabled people across Dorset. If you would like to know more about our information and support services, Advocacy, and our Handiworks Plus services, or you would like a copy of this factsheet in your own language, large print, Braille, or on audio tape or compact disc please contact us on the details below.







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