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Disability Living Allowance

What is it?

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit for disabled people. It is being replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

You can now only apply for DLA if you are under 16. If you are 16 or over and have not reached state pension age you can apply for PIP instead. If you have reach state pension age and do not get DLA at present you can apply for Attendance Allowance (AA).

If you already get DLA, your claim might end. You'll get a letter telling you when this will happen and how you can apply for PIP.

DLA is made up of two parts - the care part and the mobility part. To get DLA you need to qualify for at least one of the parts. How much you will get depends on how much your disability affects you.

  • Care part – low, middle and high rate
  • Mobility part – low and high rate

Who is eligible?

To qualify for DLA for children the child must:

  • be under 16 
  • have additional care needs and/or have walking difficulties (or who are terminally ill)
  • be in Great Britain, a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland when they 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 an EEA country or Switzerland. 

For more information please visit the DWP website.

Additional information for children under 3

A child under six months must have lived in Great Britain for at least 13 weeks.

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

The rules on residence do not normally apply if a child is terminally ill.

Who pays it?

Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) Disability Benefits Centre.

How do I apply?

Call 0800 121 4600 and request a DLA1 form to be posted out. Alternatively, you can download a claim form from the DWP website.

Are there any age limits?

From age three years for the mobility part; no lower age limit for the care part. Can be claimed up to the age of 16.

Is it National Insurance based?


Is it means-tested?


How long does it last?

Awards can be made for a limited or open-ended period.

If you are in hospital on your 16th birthday you will continue to receive your DLA regardless of how long you are an inpatient for. Your payments should be temporarily extended and you will not be invited to claim PIP until you have left hospital.

If you first claim DLA when you are in hospital, payments can start regardless of the fact that you are an inpatient. You do not need to wait until you return home for payments to begin.

All children aged under 18 are exempt from the rules restricting payments in hospital. However if you are over 18 it will stop after 28 days in a hospital or care home.

Does it affect other benefits?

It only has a positive effect on means-tested benefits and tax credits by adding premiums which will increase these benefits.

You’ll also be exempt from the ‘benefit cap’ which limits the amount of benefit payments a household can get.

Is it taxable?


Are there any dependant's additions?

No, but it is a qualifying benefit for a carer to get carer's allowance as long as the child is awarded either the middle or high rate care part.

Can I challenge the decision?

You can challenge a decision about DLA if you are unhappy with it. 

How to contact us

You can get in touch by emailing us at or by calling us on 01698 332551.

Page last updated:
23 Sep 2020

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