Disability Living Allowance is for people under 65 who have difficulty walking, finding their way around outdoors safely or looking after themselves (or both). You may also be eligible if you need someone to look out for you, for example because you have a mental health condition.
In England, Scotland and Wales, Personal Independence Payment has replaced Disability Living Allowance for people aged over 16 and under 65 who are making a new claim. Contact a welfare rights adviser for the most up-to-date information.
Disability Living Allowance awards for children or people who are 65 or over won’t be affected.
If you’re 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.
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 (or both). Some people will be entitled to get one component, while others may get both.
You don’t have to actually be getting the help to qualify. 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 table 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’re currently getting. 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 table 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:
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 still qualify.
If you’re terminally ill, 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 problems walking. All special rules claims for Disability Living Allowance are currently reviewed after three years.
How can I claim?
It’s a good idea to get help from an experienced welfare rights adviser when filling in the claim form. To make a claim in Northern Ireland, call the Northern Ireland Benefit Enquiry Line 0800 220 674, or textphone 028 9031 1092. If you live in England, Scotland and Wales, you should claim Personal Independence Payment instead.