Disability Living Allowance (NMT/NC)
Disability Living Allowance is for people under 65 who have difficulty walking, finding their way around outdoors safely or looking after themselves.
You may also be eligible if you need someone to look out for you, for example because you have a mental health condition.
If you’re in England, Scotland or Wales and already claiming Disability Living Allowance, then you’ll be asked to claim Personal Independence Payment at some point. Most people won’t be asked until October 2015 or later.
You may be asked earlier if you reach the end of an award, report a change in how your disability or condition affects you, or if you have a child who reaches 16.
It is expected that Personal Independence Payment will be introduced in Northern Ireland but the Welfare Reform Bill is still under consideration.
Check nidirect.gov.uk for the latest news on expected changes to the benefits system in Northern Ireland.
Contact a welfare rights adviser to find out how these changes may affect you.
To qualify for Disability Living Allowance, you need to have had difficulty walking or looking after yourself (for example cooking or dressing yourself) for at least three months. These difficulties should be expected to last for at least the next six months.
Disability Living Allowance is made up of:
a care component (for difficulties looking after yourself)
a mobility component (for difficulties walking or getting around).
The amount of Disability Living Allowance you get depends on how much help or supervision you need to walk or take care of yourself. You don’t have to actually be getting this help to qualify – DLA is based on the care you need, not the care you get. Some people will be entitled to get one component, while others may get both.
You should also know that:
when you claim Disability Living Allowance, your income and savings aren’t taken into account
if you’re getting other benefits, they won’t be reduced if you’re
awarded Disability Living Allowance, and they may even increase
if you’re awarded Disability Living Allowance, you may become
eligible for extra benefits
you can claim Disability Living Allowance if you’re working.
To qualify for the mobility component you must be unable or nearly unable to walk without severe discomfort, or need guidance or help most of the time when walking outdoors.
The mobility component is paid at one of two rates depending on how your disability affects you (see the weekly rates below).
To qualify for the care component, you don’t need to have a carer. It’s the care you need that makes you eligible, not the care you get. For example, you could be eligible for the care component because you find it difficult to get out of bed, have a bath or cook yourself a meal.
The care component is paid at one of three rates listed below, depending on the amount of help and care you need (see the weekly rates below).
If you qualify for the middle or higher rate of the care component and you have a carer, your carer may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance.
How much you’ll get – weekly rates
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Higher rate - £81.30
Middle rate - £54.45
Lower rate - £21.55
Higher rate - £56.75
Lower rate - £21.55
If you’re getting Disability Living Allowance and your care or mobility needs increase, you may become entitled to an increase in your Disability Living Allowance.
You need to make a claim for Disability Living Allowance before you turn 65, but if you’re awarded the benefit, it will still be paid to you after you’ve turned 65 as long as you continue to meet the qualifying criteria.
If you’re terminally ill and are expected to live less than six months, you can apply for Disability Living Allowance under the ‘special rules’. Under these rules, you don’t need to meet the three- and six-month qualifying conditions. Your claim will be dealt with quickly and you’ll receive the Disability Living Allowance care component at the higher rate.
You may also be eligible for the mobility component if you have difficulty walking. All special rules claims for Disability Living Allowance are currently reviewed after three years.
To make a claim, call the DWP’s Disability Benefits Helpline on 08457 123 456.
In Northern Ireland, call the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 220 674 or visit nidirect.gov.uk
It’s a good idea to get help from an experienced welfare rights adviser when filling in the claim form. You can do this by calling us on 0808 808 00 00.
Welfare reform in Northern Ireland - Summer 2014 update
The Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill is still under consideration. The latest news on the reforms can be found on our welfare reform page and also at nidirect.gov.uk
Macmillan Cancer Support, in partnership with Citizens Advice, provides a dedicated Welfare Rights Service to people affected by cancer in Northern Ireland. For information and support, or to arrange an appointment, please call 0300 1 233 233. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am-12.30pm and 1pm-4pm.
You can also call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00.
For benefits information and support in Northern Ireland please visit nidirect.gov.uk or call 0800 232 1271.
You can also contact the Northern Ireland Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 220 674, or textphone 028 9031 1092 if you are deaf or hard of hearing.