Financial help for children with a disability or long-term illness
Last updated: 24/01/2020
Disability living allowance (DLA) is given for children who have a disability or illness that affects their ability to participate in everyday life. It can be given from birth (but see the mobility component) up to the age of 16.
Disability living allowance
Disability living allowance is not given because of a diagnosis of a specific illness or disability but because of the extra care, support and supervision your child needs.
Your child must have suffered from the condition for 3 months before you claim disability living allowance and be expected to have the same condition for at least a further 6 months.
How to claim disability living allowance for your child
Claims are made by completing form DLA1. You can call the DLA helpline and ask for the form to be sent to you or download it from the GOV.UK website then complete and return it to the address given on the form.
If you ask for the form from the helpline any disability living allowance will be back-dated to the date you called but if you download the form, disability living allowance is only back-dated to date the completed form is received at the return address.
How much will I get for my child?
If you get disability living allowance for your child and how much you get is based on the answers to the questions on the DLA1 form.
There are two sets of questions. Your child will be awarded points depending on the answers given. One set is about the help your child needs with day to day activities such as dressing, eating and washing. The answers to these questions are used to decide if your child should get what is called the care component of disability living allowance. The other set is about your child’s ability to move around. The answers to these questions are used to decide if your child should get what is called the mobility component of disability living allowance.
The care component
The care component is given if your child needs support or assistance with day to day activities. Your child may need help to wash, dress or communicate with others. They may need to be supported and supervised in situations that could cause them, or others, distress or harm. To qualify for the care component, it must be demonstrated that your child needs considerably more care than a child, of the same age, without that condition.
There are three rates for the care component: high, middle and low.
The mobility component
The mobility component is given if your child has physical difficulty getting around or needs to be supervised during a journey because they are not able to do it alone or because going alone would put them at risk. Suitable artificial aids are taken into account.
There are two rates for the mobility component: high and low.
Children are not entitled to the mobility component until they are 2 years and 9 months old. As they still need to have passed the three months qualifying period after this age the mobility component cannot be awarded for a child under 3 years old.
You may be awarded only one component for your child or both.
Disability living allowance weekly amounts:
Care component lower rate: £23.60
Care component middle rate: £59.70
Care component higher rate: £89.15
Mobility component lower rate: £23.60
Mobility component higher rate: £62.25
Disability living allowance for children with life-limiting conditions
If your child has a life-limiting condition you may be able to claim disability living allowance under ‘special rules’. Form DS1500 will be filled in by your child’s doctor, stating that they are not expected to survive beyond six months, and returned along with the DLA1 form. Your child still needs to meet the qualifying conditions for the mobility component but not for the care component which will automatically be awarded at the high rate.
What to do if you don’t agree with the decision on your child’s disability living allowance
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your child’s disability living allowance application you can ask for it to be looked at again and then, if you are still not happy, you can appeal.
We recommend that you seek advice from an expert to help complete the claim.
Child Disability Payment
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children will be transferred to the Scottish Government in 2020 and will be renamed the Child Disability Payment. The benefit will remain much the same but with two main changes:
- children can remain on child disability payment until aged 18 rather than the previous age limit of 16 for DLA. This will hopefully help ease the move from child to adult services.
- the maximum amount will be given for children and young people who are terminally ill whatever their life expectancy.
The exact date child disability payment will be available is not yet confirmed but claims are expected to be taken from later this year.