Child Disability Payment

13 mins read

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

In this article

What is Child Disability Payment?

Child Disability Payment is a new benefit that replaces claims for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children in Scotland. It’s paid by Social Security Scotland.

From 22 November 2021 onwards, Child Disability Payment replaces new claims for DLA in Scotland. If you have a disabled child aged under 16 who is not already getting DLA, it is no longer possible to make a new claim for DLA for them and you will need to claim Child Disability Payment instead.

Children in Scotland who are already on DLA will be automatically transferred onto Child Disability Payment without the need to make a claim. This will happen gradually between Winter 2021 and Spring 2023.

Who can claim Child Disability Payment?

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. You may be able to get Child Disability Payment if your child has 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. This test does not apply if your child is aged 16 or 17 or if they have a terminal illness.

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.

Normally you need to show that your child’s needs have existed for at least 13 weeks and will continue to last for at least another 26 weeks. This does not apply if they are terminally ill.

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. Normally a child must be at least 3 months old to be paid Child Disability Payment but it can be paid from birth for a terminally ill child.

You can’t claim Child Disability Payment if your child already gets DLA. Children in Scotland who already get DLA are being gradually transferred onto Child Disability Payment between Winter 2021 and Spring 2023.

Normally a claim for Child Disability Payment needs to be made by a parent or by someone with parental responsibility for them such as a grandparent or kinship carer.

Existing child DLA claimants in Scotland

Social Security Scotland have started the process of transferring children in Scotland who are already on DLA over onto the new benefit.

Families who currently get DLA for a child and who are transferred onto Child Disability Payment will have their awards moved over automatically to the new Scottish benefit, with no change in the amount paid or their 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.

What is the transfer timeline?

The first transfers from DLA to Child Disability Payment are expected to happen in winter 2021. Initially transfers will start with children who are terminally ill and older children. We expect 17 year olds to be moved first, then 16 year olds and then children who are within six months of their 16th birthday. The process of transferring all other younger children on DLA isn’t expected to start until Spring 2022. All Scottish DLA child claims should be transferred by Spring 2023.

Once a child on DLA is selected for transfer to Child Disability Payment, Social Security Scotland will write to you confirming their intention to transfer their award. They will have a transition period of up to 13 weeks within which to complete the transfer process. During this ‘transition period’, DLA will be paid as normal. Usually, families will not need to do anything and your child’s award 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, Social Security Scotland will write to you confirming this. The letter will also explain when your child’s award is expected to be reviewed. Reviews can take place at any time between 2 and 10 years. For children condition is unlikely to change it will be 5-10 years.

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 soon, you should have been sent a DLA renewal pack to complete. You should fill this in as normal to ensure that your child continues to get DLA for the time being. The Scottish government say that where someone has been sent a DLA renewal claim pack, they won’t be transferred to Child Disability Payment until after they have had their DLA renewal.

How does Child Disability Payment differ from DLA?

For the most part, the qualifying rules for Child Disability Payment are identical to DLA. The benefit has two components covering personal care and mobility, and these are paid at the same rates as 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.

In a few cases children might be eligible for a higher amount under Child Disability Payment than they got under DLA because of differences . 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.

If one of the above applies to your child and they have been moved onto Child Disability Payment at the same rates as they received under DLA, you may want to consider asking Social Security Scotland to re-assess your child’s needs. However get advice before doing this as a re-assessment can lead to benefit going down as well as up.

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.

Terminally ill children

Children who qualify under the special rules for the terminally ill automatically get the highest rate of the care component. So long as they are aged three or above, they will also get the higher rate mobility component.

There is a quicker way of applying for Child Disability Payment if your child is terminally ill. As part of this process you complete a shorter application form and need to get your doctor or nurse to complete a ‘Benefits Assessment under the Special Rules in Scotland (BASRiS)’ Form. This form describes your child’s condition and treatments, and you don’t need to pay for it.

Unlike DLA or PIP, there is no need to show that your child’s death is expected within six months. Instead, you can make a claim under the special rules so long as your child’s nurse or GP believes that your child has a progressive disease that can reasonably be expected to cause their death. Guidance suggests that factors they should take into account include whether the condition is advanced and progressive or with risk of sudden death, whether it is amenable to curative treatment and whether the condition is leading to an increased need for additional care and support.

How do I claim Child Disability Payment?

If your child lives in Scotland, is under 16 and does not already get DLA, you can make a claim for Child Disability Payment. You can do this on-line at 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.

There are two parts to the Child Disability Payment application form. You start the application by completing part one; this registers the date of your claim. You are then given 42 days (six weeks) to complete part two, which contains the detailed information about your child’s care and mobility needs.

 If you’re going to have difficulty completing part two within the six-week deadline, you should tell Social Security Scotland. If you have a good reason for not meeting the deadline, you might be able to get more time.

A Child Disability Payment award cannot usually be backdated and is paid from the date part one of the form was completed and registered. The only exception to this is where a child is claiming under the special rules for the terminally ill. In those circumstances, it is possible for an award to be backdated and to either the date their terminal illness was diagnosed or for six months, whichever is the more recent.

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 stays away from home

Payment of the care component of Child Disability Payment is affected by stays in residential accommodation. Payments are usually suspended once your child has spent 28 ‘linked’ days in residential care home, residential school or residential college and the costs of this accommodation are being met by public funds. The mobility component continues to be paid.

If your child is in hospital they can continue to receive both components of Child Disability Payment in full, so long as they were aged under 18 on the date that their stay as an in-patient began.

Moving between Scotland and other parts of the UK

Moving from Scotland

If your child gets Child Disability Payment and moves from Scotland to elsewhere in the UK, you will need to let Social Security Scotland know. Child Disability Payment will continue for the first 13 weeks after they leave before stopping. You will need to make a claim for Disability Living Allowance, or for Personal Independence Payment if they are aged 16 or above.

Moving to Scotland

If your child moves to Scotland from elsewhere in the UK and gets DLA, you should let Social Security Scotland know. They will arrange for your child to be transferred from DLA to Child Disability Payment. This will be done without the need for a claim or any reassessment.

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.