Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is for children under 16 who need extra looking after or have walking difficulties.
DLA is a tax-free benefit made of 2 components (parts) ‘the care component’ and ‘the mobility component’. You may be entitled to receive one component or both.
To be eligible for DLA you must need help for 3 months prior to making a claim, and are likely to need it for at least another 6 months. It is not necessary to wait for the three month qualifying period to be completed before making the claim. Children can only get DLA for help with personal care if they are 3 months old or over and need more help or supervision than other children of the same age. The rate of DLA received depends on the amount of attention needed and the sort of help or supervision needed. For example, someone to keep an eye on them, help with things such as washing, dressing, communicating with other people, reminding or prompting or encouraging to do things (but this may depend on how much help they need) or other similar activities. There are 3 rates:
DLA Care Component
The rate the child gets depends on the level of looking after they need eg:
High Rate – help or supervision throughout both day and night, or they’re terminally ill
Middle Rate – frequent help or constant supervision during the day or supervision at night
Low Rate – help for some of the day or night
DLA Mobility Component
Children can only get DLA for help with getting around if they are aged 3 or over. Remember all children need some help and supervision when they are out of doors, therefore the child must need more help or supervision than others of the same age. There are 2 rates.
High Rate – they can’t walk, can only walk a short distance without severe discomfort, could become very ill if they try to walk, they’re blind or severely sight impaired
Low Rate – they can walk but need help and or supervision when outdoors
Children under 16 must require substantially more guidance than other children of the same age in normal health. The term “virtually unable to walk” is assessed by considering the distance, speed, length of time a person can walk, the manner of walking and the degree of discomfort caused. For example, the child is aged 5 or over and can walk, but needs someone with them to make sure they are safe or to help them find their way around in places they do not know well.
It may be possible to claim mobility allowance if the child is restricted by tightness of skin, if the soles of their feet are badly affected, if they are too hot or cold to the extent that their muscles are painful and will not function normally, if they are lethargic from the heat or cold, or are unable to walk without discomfort or in danger of overheating.
As at April 2019 the weekly rates of payment are:
DLA Mobility Component per week DLA Care Component per week
High Rate £61.20 High Rate £87.65
Low Rate £23.20 Middle Rate £58.70
Low Rate £23.20
DLA and PIP can act as a gateway to additional types of financial help. For example, if you are in receipt of income support or housing benefit and you successfully claim DLA or PIP, you should qualify for the relevant disability premiums used in calculating entitlements to these benefits (e.g. disability premium, disabled child premium). This should lead to higher payments.
For more information on DLA, other benefits, and what to do if your claim is unsuccessful, please read our leaflet Claiming Benefits for Individuals with Ectodermal Dysplasia or you can email us.