Child Disability Payment

10 mins read

Child Disability Payment is a new benefit being introduced in Scotland to replace new claims for Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

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What is Child Disability Payment?

Child Disability Payment is a new benefit being introduced in Scotland to replace claims for Disability Living Allowance (DLA). It’s paid by Social Security Scotland.

Initially, Child Disability Payment only applies to new claims in certain local authority areas. From 22 November, it will replace new claims for DLA everywhere in Scotland. Existing DLA claimants will be transferred onto Child Disability Payment at a later date.

Who can claim?

It can be claimed for children under 16 who, because of a disability or medical condition, need more care or supervision than other children of the same age or have difficulties in getting around outdoors. Your child may be able to claim if they have a disability of any type.

You don’t need to wait for a formal diagnosis to make a claim. It is sufficient that they have some form of disability. 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. Any decision to award Child Disability Payment will be based on how your child’s condition impacts on their day-to-day life.

It is not means-tested, so it does not matter what income or savings you have or whether you are working.

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 is aged three years or above and hasn’t been in the UK for at least 26 weeks out of the last year, call our free helpline for more advice.

Your child must be under 16 to be able to claim the Child Disability Payment. However, so long as their award starts before they turn 16, it can continue until they turn 18.

You can’t claim Child Disability Payment if your child already gets DLA. Children in Scotland who already get DLA will be transferred onto Child Disability Payment at a future date. Both benefits are paid at the same rates.

When is it being introduced?

New claims

Child Disability Payment was introduced with a pilot scheme starting on 26 July 2021 in the local authority areas of Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and the Western Isles. In these three areas, its no longer possible to make a new claim for DLA with a claim for Child Disability Payment being required instead.

You can check whether you live in one of the pilot areas by using the postcode checker on the mygov.scot website. If you start to get Child Disability Payment but then move out of a pilot area to another part of Scotland, you can continue to receive Child Disability Payment.

These pilots will be followed by the rollout of the new benefit to replace new claims for DLA across the whole of Scotland from 22 November 2021. In the meantime, disabled children in other parts of Scotland can continue to claim DLA.

Existing DLA claimants

Initially, the Child Disability Payment will only replace new claims for DLA. Children in Scotland who are already on DLA won’t be moved onto the new benefit until later, and this will happen in stages.

Social Security Scotland has also confirmed that once transfers start, families who currently get DLA for a child will have their awards moved over automatically to the new Scottish benefit, with no change in their payment rates or payment dates. They won’t have to make a claim for Child Disability Payment, and they won’t need to go through a re-assessment.

In a few cases children might qualify for a higher amount under Child Disability Payment than they got under DLA. For instance, this might apply if:

  • A child has a severe visual disability but does not get the higher mobility component of DLA.
  • A child is 16 or 17 and has problems preparing a cooked main meal for themselves, but only gets the mobility component and not the care component of DLA.
  • A child is 16 or 17 and requires supervision, attention or guidance, but prior to turning 16 this support wasn’t seen as being substantially more than a non-disabled child of the same age required.

All other children being transferred will get the same rate of Child Disability Payment as they previously got in DLA.

What is the transfer timeline?

The first existing DLA cases are expected to be transferred in the winter of 2021. The transfer will start with children who are terminally ill alongside older children. DLA claimants aged 16 and 17 will be prioritised to ensure that they are transferred onto Child Disability Payment before they turn 18 and need to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The next group will be children aged 15 years and 6 months. This is so Social Security Scotland can take them through the process of deciding whether they can manage their own affairs or whether they need an appointee to manage their benefits. All other clients aged 15 and below will start to be transferred from Spring 2022. All Scottish DLA claims should be transferred by Spring 2023.

Once a child on DLA is selected for transfer to Child Disability Payment, Social Security Scotland will have a transition period of up to 17 weeks to complete the transfer process. During this ‘transition period’, DLA will be paid as normal. Usually, families will not need to do anything and the child will be transferred automatically. In a small number of cases, Social security Scotland may need to contact you to confirm that personal details are correct.

Once a child has been transferred onto Child Disability Payment, they will receive their first payment four weeks later. This is because the benefit is paid four weeks in arrears. The only exception to this is terminally ill children, who will be paid weekly in advance.

What about children in Scotland whose current DLA award is coming to an end?

If your child is already getting DLA but their award is coming to an end, you should be sent a DLA renewal pack to complete. You should fill this in as normal to ensure that that your child continues to get DLA for the time being. They won’t be transferred to Child Disability Payment until a later date. This is the case even in the three pilot areas.

How does Child Disability Payment differ from DLA?

For the most part, the qualifying rules for Child Disability Payment are identical to DLA. There are differences in how claims by terminally ill children are treated, a different definition of when a child is treated as severely visually impaired, and some differences where someone has dialysis by both day and night. But for the most part, the rules are the same. The benefit has two components covering personal care and mobility, and these are paid at the same rates as DLA.

How much Child Disability Payment will I get?

Depending on their circumstances, your child may qualify for one or for both components of Child Disability Payment. The care component of Child Disability Payment can be paid from age three months (or from birth if terminally ill). The mobility component can be paid from the age of three years.

Care component

If your child needs a lot of extra watching over or help with personal care, they should qualify for the care component of Child Disability Payment. 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 2021):

  • Lowest rate care – £23.70.
  • Middle rate care – £60.00.
  • Highest rate care – £89.60.

Whether you get the care component and the rate you get will depend on the amount of extra care or supervision that your child needs and whether this happens during the day or at night.

Mobility component

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 of doors. 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 if they have disruptive behaviour requiring regular restraint and need to be watched over constantly.

The mobility component weekly rates from April 2021 are:

  • Lower rate mobility – £23.70.
  • Higher rate mobility – £62.55.

How do I claim Child Disability Payment?

If you live in one of the areas where the new benefit has been introduced, your child is under 16 and does not already get DLA or PIP, you can make a claim for Child Disability Payment. You can do this on-line at mygov.scot or by telephone on 0800 182 2222. You can also use this number to ask for a paper form to be sent out or to book an appointment for face to face help from Social Security Scotland staff in completing the form.

Getting a Child Disability Payment decision

Once you’ve applied for Child Disability Payment, you’ll receive updates from Social Security Scotland on the progress of your claim. A decision will be sent to you by post. This is called a determination.  If your child is terminally ill, you should receive a determination within a few days. Otherwise, you should normally receive a determination within six weeks.

The determination letter will also tell you when your award of Child Disability Payment will be reviewed.

What if I’m not happy with a Child Disability Payment decision?

If your child is refused Child Disability Payment or awarded it at a lower rate than you expected, you may wish to ask Social Security Scotland to have another look at your claim. This is known as asking for a ‘re-determination’.

You can ask for this to happen in writing or by phone. You normally have 42 days to ask for a re-determination, although late requests will sometimes be accepted. If you’re not happy with the outcome of the re-determination, you can appeal to an independent Tribunal. You should appeal within 31days of receiving the re-determination and can do this by completing a paper appeal form or by calling Social Security Scotland.   

Child Disability Payment and other benefits and financial help

Child Disability Payment is not taxable and it’s not treated as income for other benefits.

Instead, getting Child Disability Payment can lead to an increase in other benefits you receive or help you qualify for entitlements for the first time. Make sure you tell any office paying you other benefits or tax credits that your child has been awarded Child Disability Payment.