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Call our free helpline
0808 808 3555
Watch our video challenging the myths around eligibility
for Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is the main benefit for children
with a condition or disability. Any disabled child or ill child
might qualify. DLA helps to meet the extra costs that you might
have as a result of your child's disability.
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
Any child who has a disability or illness might qualify for DLA,
and you don't need to wait for a formal diagnosis to make a claim.
However you will need to show that your child needs substantially
more care or supervision than other children of the same age who
don't have a disability or health condition.
DLA can be claimed from the age of three months or from birth if
your child has a terminal illness.
DLA can be paid regardless of whether you are working or not. It
isn't means-tested, so it does not matter what income or savings
you have. Any decision to award DLA will be based on how your
child's condition impacts on their day to day life.
Your child will also have to meet certain rules linked to their
immigration status and the length of time they have lived in the
UK. If your child hasn't been in the UK for 104 weeks in the last
three years, call our free helpline for more advice.
DLA is made up of two components. Depending on their
circumstances your child may qualify for one, or for both. The care
component can be paid from age 3 months (or from birth if
terminally ill). The mobility component can be paid from the age of
If your child needs a lot of extra watching over or help with
personal care, they should qualify for the care component of DLA.
This is paid at one of three different rates depending on how much
extra care your child needs.
The care component is paid at one of the following weekly rates
(from April 2019):
The mobility component is paid to children who need help in
getting around. It is paid at one of two rates depending on the
nature of the mobility problems.
The lower mobility component can be paid from the age of five.
It is for children who need extra guidance or supervision out
The higher rate of the mobility component can be paid from the
age of three. It is for those with severe walking difficulties or
those who are deaf blind or severely visually impaired.
There are also specific rules that allow some children with
severe learning difficulties or autistic spectrum disorders to
qualify for the higher rate of the mobility component. You can find
out more in our free parent guide
Disability Living Allowance - claiming the higher rate mobility
component for children with learning disabilities and Autistic
Spectrum Disorders [PDF].
The mobility component weekly rates from April 2019 are:
There is a specific form that is used for claiming DLA for a
When claiming it is very important to put as much information as
you can about your child's needs. Any information provided by a
professional involved with your child's care may also help. If a
child has a terminal illness a claim can be made under 'special
our helpline for more details.
Order a claim form from the DLA Unit by calling 0800 121 4600,
or for Northern Ireland call 0800 587 0912.
We have put together some tips and advice on completing the more
difficult parts of the DLA1A Child form.
If possible get specialist advice from a welfare benefits
adviser or someone else who is familiar with completing the
Our national freephone helpline can put you in
touch with local help to complete the form. You can search for
local benefits advisers by using the Turn2Us find an
We recommend that you keep a diary for a week before tackling
the form. This will be useful for providing evidence of your
child's extra needs.
If your child is refused DLA or awarded it at a lower rate than
you expected, you may wish to challenge that decision.
Firstly you can ask for a decision to be looked at again. This
is known as a 'mandatory reconsideration' request. You must
normally ask for this within one month of the date of the
decision you are challenging, although late requests will sometimes
If you are still not happy with the outcome of the mandatory
reconsideration, you can request an appeal. You must do this
in writing using
an appeal form. You must normally do this within one month of
the date on your mandatory reconsideration decision.
You can get more information about asking for an appeal or a
mandatory reconsideration from our free helpline.
DLA is not treated taxable and it's not treated as income for
other benefits. Instead, getting DLA can help you qualify for
extra amounts within means-tested benefits or tax credits you
receive or help you qualify for these benefits for the first time.
It may also help you qualify for other benefits such as Carer's
For example if you are getting Child Tax Credit and your child
is awarded DLA (or an existing DLA award is increased to the
higher rate care component), make sure you tell the tax credits
office within one month of getting the DLA decision. You should get
extra tax credits payments backdated in line with the DLA
If you're getting Universal Credit instead of Child Tax
Credit, make sure that you tell the office paying you Universal
Credit about any DLA award or increase to the highest rate care
Detailed advice about what other help you might get as a result
of a DLA award is available via our free helpline.
Payment of the care component of DLA is affected by stays in
residential accommodation. Payments are usually suspended if your
child spends 28 'linked' days in a residential care home,
residential school or residential college. The mobility component
continues to be paid. You can find out more information about these
pages 49-51 of our free guide to Disability Living
DLA also used to be affected by stays in hospital, but the DLA
hospital rules have now been scrapped for children aged under 18.
So long as your child was under 18 when they entered hospital, they
can claim and be paid DLA as normal despite the fact that they are
Read more information about
DLA and children in hospital.
This information was written by our invaluable Family Finances
Helpline team. Although all our information is free to access, we
depend on donations to keep our charity going. If you can, please
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