On this page you’ll find tonnes of information about the Disability Living Allowance for children under 16 (DLA). Don’t forget to check out our other Sky Badger pages to find out about other benefits for disabled children as well as grants, respite care and much more.
If you want to jump straight to the section that's relevant for you then use these quick links.
What is Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?
Disability living allowance is the main benefit for disabled children under 16. DLA is designed to help you cover the extra costs that you might face because of your child’s disability. The range of levels is wide, from a little extra help for children with learning disabilities to severe disability both mentally and physically.
What’s really important to remember about the DLA, is that it is about how much extra care and support your child needs not what their diagnosis is. In fact even if your child doesn’t have a diagnosis yet, you can still claim DLA. You will of course need good evidence of how their needs impact them day to day life. The key issue is that they have extra needs that other children their age don’t have.
To claim DLA, you have to fill in this form BUT please read the rest of this article first before you start!
Contact the Disability Living Allowance helpline...
This part is designed for children that need extra help day to day including their personal care. It comes at three levels. For the lower level, your child will need at least 1 extra hour of help in 24 hours. For the higher rates, your child will need help both day and night care.
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
This part is designed to help your child if they have trouble getting around. It comes at two levels of support, lower rate and higher rate.
Low rate mobility DLA
If your child needs lots of extra help in getting around and staying safe but isn’t necessarily physically disabled, then your child might qualify for the lower rate. You’ll need to be really specific about what this extra help is.
Higher rate mobility DLA
High rate criteria…
- unable to walk
- virtually unable to walk
- the exertion required to walk would constitute a danger to their life or would be likely to lead to a serious deterioration in their health
- have no legs or feet (from birth or through amputation)
- severely mentally impaired and show extremely disruptive and dangerous behaviour
- or have a severe visual impairment; or be both blind and deaf and need the assistance of another person to walk out of doors.
Children with Autism and DLA
Children who don’t necessarily have a physical disability but need extra “guidance or supervision” to help them get around may be eligible for the lower rate. However, some children with Autism could also qualify for higher rate depending on their specific needs.
To be eligible for the higher rate, your child must have ‘a severe mental impairment and behavioural problems’ or be ‘virtually unable to walk’.
These phases are horrid but they are only words so please don’t take it to heart. This is after all about getting the help your child needs to allow them to live as full a life as possible.
More detailed advice about applying for DLA for an Autism Child
There are a couple of fab guides that we’ve linked to here that will help you work through your application for DLA if your child has learning disabilities or Autism…
To qualify for DLA your 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.
This depends on lots of things but you can get higher rate mobility for your child from the age of 3 and the lower rate from the age of 5. There is not a set lower age limit for the carer’s component. However If your child has a life-limiting condition, DLA is payable for the age of 3 months.
Other things DLA allows you to apply for…
If you qualify for DLA higher rate mobility, then you can also use the Motability Scheme and automatically qualify for a Blue Badge from your Local Authority. You should also check out the Sky Badger website to see if you can claim carer’s allowance, young carer’s support, help with your bills, Council tax reductions and much more.
Disability benefit forms – How to fill them in your Child’s DLA application form
The DLA disability application form looks like a really friendly document and it is but you have to be very precise filling it all the same. You’ll need to be detailed about your child’s day to day needs, so take your time as well as a lot of notes and advice.
Sky Badger top tips….
- Photocopy everything! – the application form itself as well as all your supporting reports and evidence
- When you send off your application form, get the postdate recorded if you can so you can prove when you sent it in
- Read the guides below. They are brill and will hold your hand through every question on the form
Sky Badger can also help you with...
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Useful technology & kit
Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.
Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.
Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.
Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.
Not sure where to turn?
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Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.