It’s time to bust some myths about DLA!

4 mins read

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Tags: benefits, dla, disability living allowance, Extra cost of raising a disabled child

Families describe Disability Living Allowance (DLA) as life-changing. It’s the main benefit for disabled children in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and is designed to help you with the extra costs of having a disabled child.

Despite this, we know there’s a lot of confusion and myths circulating about who is and who is not entitled to DLA.  As a result, many families could be missing on this vital benefit because they wrongly think they’re not entitled to it.

To help, we’ve fact-checked some of the most common myths we hear about DLA:

Myth: My child needs a diagnosis before I can claim DLA

Reality: You do not need to wait for your child’s condition to be diagnosed before applying for DLA. You can claim DLA so long as it is clear that there is some underlying condition – whether physical, mental or behavioural – which means your child needs extra care or watching over or help in getting around.

Myth: My child’s disability isn’t the right type to get DLA

Reality: DLA is not only for children with complex disabilities. You can claim DLA if your child has learning difficulties, autistic spectrum disorders, emotional and behavioural conditions, physical disabilities or a condition of any other type.   

Myth: I can’t claim DLA for my child because my earnings are too high / I’m working

Reality: DLA is not means-tested so it doesn’t matter whether you have earnings or savings or whether you are working or not. The only thing that matters is whether your child has greater needs than other children of the same age.

Myth: Children with learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders cannot get higher mobility rate under DLA

Reality: Even if your child has no physical problems with walking, they might still qualify for the higher rate if their behaviour is very difficult to deal with and they meet certain other tests.

Myth: I can’t claim DLA because my child is very young

Reality: You can claim DLA for your child from the age of three months, or from birth if your child has a terminal illness.  It can be harder to claim for a young child because all infants need a high level of care. However, if your child needs a different type of care, or care more often than other infants, you have a good chance of an award.

Myth: There is no point in claiming DLA because the money will be deducted from my other benefits

Reality: DLA is never deducted from other benefits you get, and it is always ignored as income. DLA is paid on top of other benefits you might be receiving like housing benefit, tax credits or Universal Credit for example. In fact, getting DLA can trigger other financial help too like Carer’s Allowance.

Listen to Derek, one of Contact’s benefits advisers, dispel some common myths about DLA eligibility in our podcast.

Make sure you don’t miss out on DLA

We’ve got loads of resources to help you understand more about this important benefit and how to make a claim, including:

DLA is available to families living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A new benefit – the Child Disability Payment – replaces new claims for DLA in Scotland. See our webpage on welfare benefits in Scotland for more information.