What is Disability Living Allowance?

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Charlene Hughes, Associate Solicitor, with Boyes Turner, discusses the Disability Living Allowance.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) used to be one of the main benefits someone with a disability or a health condition could claim. For many people, DLA has been replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

If you were born on or before 8 April 1948 then you will continue to get DLA for as long as you are eligible to receive it.

If you were born after 8 April 1948 and receive DLA then your DLA will end. You will receive a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) telling you when that will happen and inviting you to apply for PIP. You will continue to receive DLA until that date. If you make a PIP application, then your DLA will continue to be paid until at least 28 days after a decision is made about your PIP application. If you are eligible to claim for PIP then PIP payments will start as soon as your DLA payments end.

It is still possible to make a claim for DLA if you are under 16 and meet the eligibility criteria. The rest of this article looks at DLA for children.

How much is DLA?

DLA is made up of two parts – the care component and the mobility component. The care component can be paid at a low, middle or high rate. The mobility component can be paid at a low or high rate – there is no middle rate.

How much DLA you receive depends on how your disability or health condition affects you. You might qualify for one or both components.

Below is a summary of the current DLA weekly rates, these are reviewed annually.

Care: low £23.70, middle £60.00 and high £89.60

Mobility – low £23.70 and high £62.55

There are age limits to receiving the mobility component – with the low rate the child must be 5 years or over and with the high rate the child must be 3 years or over.

DLA is usually paid every four weeks.

How do I claim DLA?

Usually, the parent of the child would claim DLA on their behalf.

A DLA claim form will need to be completed. You can either print this or you can call the DLA Helpline to ask for a copy of the printed form.

You should get a decision about 8 weeks after your form is received.

What if I disagree with the DWP’s decision?

It is possible to challenge a decision about a DLA claim. This is called mandatory reconsideration.

Key points to note:

DLA cannot be backdated – if a claim for DLA is successful then DLA will be paid from the start of the claim. This will be the date the claim form is received or the date you called the DLA helpline.

There are special rules if a child is terminally ill so that DLA can be received more quickly.

The child will need to apply for PIP when they turn 16.

Remember you must contact the DWP if there is any change in your circumstances as this may affect how much DLA you get.

If you spend at least 35 hours per week caring for a child who gets the DLA care component at the middle or high rate then you may qualify for Carer’s Allowance.

How can we help?

If you have any queries or questions about DLA or other state benefits you may be entitled to due to a disability or a health condition then please contact our Court of Protection team by email: cop@boyesturner.com

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