Disability Living Allowance for children

If your child is under 16 and has care and mobility needs, you may be entitled to claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is made up of two components: care and mobility. Your child may get one or both of these components, depending on their circumstances.

Support for care

To be awarded the care component of DLA, the child has to need substantially more care and attention than other children of the same age due to their disability.

This includes the support they need with their ‘bodily functions’, for example:

  • Eating
  • Washing
  • Getting dressed
  • Going to the toilet
  • Speaking
  • Seeing
  • Hearing

Support for your child's care needs will be paid at one of three different rates, depending on whether your child needs support at night as well as during the day, and if they have a life-limiting condition.

Support for mobility

If your child has difficulty getting around, for example because of sight and hearing difficulties, you may also be able to claim mobility support.

This component provides support for children who have difficulties with walking, learning difficulties, behavioural issues and other complex disabilities.

How to apply for DLA for children

In England, Scotland and Wales you can make a claim online on the Gov.UK website.

If you live in Northern Ireland, visit Northern Ireland Direct.

You can also phone the DLA Helpline on 0345 712 3456 or textphone 0345 722 4433to request a form. Forms are also available from your local benefits office.

What should I include in my claim?

When you apply for DLA you should describe your child’s care and mobility needs, and how often they need support.  You should also give examples of what would happen if you were not able to provide support, e.g. your child may not be able to communicate with strangers if lost, or hear dangers coming from behind. Even if your child can communicate well using methods such as lipreading, you can still claim if your child needs additional help to communicate, such as needing background noise to be reduced, e.g. turning off the TV or radio.

It is important to include descriptions of the additional care and mobility support your child needs compared to non-disabled children of the same age.  It may be helpful to note that walking unaided can usually be expected by 10 – 16 months, and getting undressed can usually be expected by 14 -24 months.

It is helpful to enclose any medical reports, doctor’s letters or other specialist documentation you already have to support your claim. If you do not have any, always provide the full details of all specialists that your child is seeing so that Department for Work and Pensions can contact them.

Did you know?

  • DLA is not means tested and is tax free.
  • The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has replaced DLA for adults aged 16 to 64.
  • If your child is awarded the middle or higher rate of the care component, you may be eligible to claim Carer's Allowance.

More information

Further information about DLA for children can be found on the Gov.UK website.