Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who:
- is under 16
- has difficulties walking or needs more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability
They will need to meet all the eligibility requirements.
The DLA rate is between £21.80 and £139.75 a week and depends on the level of help the child needs. The child may need an assessment to work out what help they need.
2. DLA rates for children
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children is a tax-free benefit made up of 2 components (parts). The child might qualify for one or both components.
Care component Weekly rate
Mobility component Weekly rate
How DLA for children is paid
DLA is usually paid every 4 weeks.
All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into your bank, building society or credit union account.
You might qualify for Carer’s Allowance if you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a child who gets the middle or highest care rate of DLA.
Usually, to qualify for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children the child must:
- be under 16
- need extra looking after or have walking difﬁculties
- be in Great Britain, another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland when you claim - there are some exceptions, such as family members of the Armed Forces
- have lived in Great Britain for 2 of the last 3 years, if over 3 years old
- be habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands
- not be subject to immigration control
There are some exceptions to these conditions if the child is living or coming from another EEA country or Switzerland.
You can claim DLA for children if you’re in or out of work.
Children under 3
A child under 6 months must have lived in Great Britain for at least 13 weeks.
A child aged between 6 months and 3 years must have lived in Great Britain for at least 26 of the last 156 weeks.
The rules on residence don’t normally apply if a child is terminally ill.
The child’s disability or health condition
The child’s disability or health condition must mean one or both of the following apply:
- they need more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability
- they have difficulty getting about
They must have had these difficulties for at least 3 months and expect them to last for at least 6 months. If they’re terminally ill (that is, not expected to live more than 6 months), they don’t need to have had these difficulties for 3 months.
The rate the child gets depends on the level of looking after they need, for example:
- lowest rate - help for some of the day or night
- middle rate - frequent help or constant supervision during the day, supervision at night or someone to help while they’re on dialysis
- highest rate - help or supervision throughout both day and night, or they’re terminally ill
The rate the child gets depends on the level of help they need getting about, for example:
- lowest rate - they can walk but need help and or supervision when outdoors
- highest rate - they can’t walk, can only walk a short distance without severe discomfort, could become very ill if they try to walk or they’re blind, severely sight impaired
You might get a letter saying the child needs an assessment to check their eligibility. The letter explains:
- why and where they must go
- what paperwork you must bring as proof of identity for yourself and the child, for example a passport or birth certificate
Change of circumstances
Contact the Disability Service Centre as soon as the child’s circumstances change. This can affect how much they get, for example if their disability gets worse or they go abroad for medical treatment.
Their DLA won’t usually be affected if they go:
- into a local authority care home for less than 28 days
- into a 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
4. How to claim
Use the DLA claim form to apply for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children under 16.
The form tells you where to send your application.
You can order a printed form by telephoning the Disability Living Allowance helpline.
Call to ask for alternative formats, such as braille, large print or audio CD.
What you need to know
DLA can only be claimed for children under 16 - anyone over 16 must apply forPersonal Independence Payment (PIP).
You can claim DLA for a child as long as you look after them as if you’re their parent. ‘Parent’ includes step-parents, guardians, grandparents, foster-parents, and even older brothers or sisters.
DLA can’t be backdated. The date of your claim will usually be the date the form is received or the date you call the enquiry line (if you return the claim pack within 6 weeks).
It usually takes 40 working days to deal with a DLA claim.
The child may need an assessment to complete the application.
There are special rules if the child is not expected to live more than 6 months, so they can get DLA more quickly. You must:
- complete a DLA claim form
- include a DS1500 medical condition report with your claim form or send it soon after - these are free and you can only get them from a doctor, specialist or consultant
Appeal a decision
You can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal if you disagree with a decision. You must usually ask for ‘mandatory reconsideration’ before you appeal
Who to contact
- Contact Name
- Telephone: 0345 712 3456
- Contact Position
- Textphone: 0345 722 4433