Can my child get the Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?

The Disability Living Allowance contributes towards the care of children under 16 with disabilities or require more looking after.

This benefit is often abbreviated to ‘DLA’.

An overview of the Disability Living Allowance

Te Disability Living Allowance helps with the extra costs of looking after a child who:

  • Is under 16
  • Has difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability
What are the DLA rates for children?

This is a tax-free benefit made up of 2 parts called ‘components’. Your child may qualify for one or both of these components.

The rate they receive depends on the level of care they need and the amount of assistance they need getting about.

Care component:

Your circumstances

Hours a week

Lowest – They need help for some of the day or night

£22.65 per week

Middle – They require frequent help or constant supervision during the day, supervision at night or someone to help while they’re on dialysis

£57.30 per week

Highest – They need help or supervision throughout both day and night, or they’re terminally ill

£85.60 per week

Mobility component:

Your circumstances

Hours a week

Lower – They can walk, but need help and/or supervision when outdoors

£22.65 per week

Higher – 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

£59.75 per week

*Rates apply from April 2018 to April 2019 and are usually paid every four weeks

The Disability Living Allowance will be paid into your bank, building society or credit union account.

Is my child eligible for the Disability Living Allowance:

Typically, to qualify for the Disability Living Allowance, the child must:

  • Be under 16
  • Need extra looking after or walking difficulties
  • Be in Great Britain, another EEA country or Switzerland when you claim. However there are some exceptions (e.g. family members of armed forces)
  • Have lived in Great Britain for 2 of the last 3 years, if over 3 years all
  • 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.

What if my child is under three?

A child under six months must have lived in Great Britain for at least 13 weeks to qualify for the Disability Living Allowance.

A child between six months and three years must have lived in Great Britain for at least 26 o the last 156 weeks.

The rules on residence don’t normally apply if a child is terminally ill.

They must have had these difficulties for at least three months and expect them to last for at least six months. If they’re terminally ill and not expected to live more than six months, this condition does not apply.

Changes of circumstances

Contact the Disability Service Centre as soon as your 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
How do I claim Disability Living Allowance for my child?

Use the DLA claim form to apply for Disability Living Allowance for children under 16. This form tells you where to send your application.

You can order a printed form by calling the Disability Living Allowance helpline:

Telephone: 0800 121 4600

Textphone: 0800 121 523

Lines open Monday to Friday, between 8am and 6pm

Other assistance

You may qualify for the Carer’s Allowance if you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a child who gets the middle highest care rate of DLA. 

What should I do next?

Before you apply for Disability Living Allowance for your child, make sure you’re fully informed about the benefits you’re entitled to. Take a look at these resources: