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Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance provides help towards the extra costs of bringing up a disabled child.

Before Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was introduced in 2013, disabled adults under 65 could also claim Disability Living Allowance.

If you still receive this benefit as an adult, you will be reassessed at some point for transfer to PIP.

Important changes to Disability Living Allowance

It is no longer possible for people aged between 16 and 64 to make a new claim for Disability Living Allowance. Instead, you will need to make a claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Disability Living Allowance will continue to be available to new claimants under 16.

If you are aged 65 or over and have care or supervision needs, you should consider claiming Attendance Allowance instead.

If you already receive Disability Living Allowance and your circumstances change, you will be invited to claim PIP. You will not have the choice to stay on Disability Living Allowance.

You will be asked to claim PIP if:

  • you report a change in your care or mobility needs
  • you reach the end of an existing award of Disability Living Allowance, or
  • you are approaching the age of 16 (unless you are terminally ill)

Other existing adult claimants may also be invited by the Department of Work and Pensions to claim PIP.

This will not apply, however, if you were aged 65 or over on 8 April 2013 – in this case, you will remain on Disability Living Allowance.

If you think you have grounds for a review of your Disability Living Allowance, you should contact our free confidential helpline 0808 800 0303.

It is very important that if you are asking for a review of the benefit from the Department for Work and Pensions, you understand the possible consequences.

The amount of money you receive may go up or down.

What is Disability Living Allowance?

Disability Living Allowance is a benefit for you, not for a carer and you don’t need to have someone looking after you to qualify.

If you are awarded this benefit, it is entirely up to you how you use it. You can still claim if you are in employment.

Disability Living Allowance has two parts or ‘components’. You can get either component or both together, depending on your condition.

1. The care component

This part is paid to people who need help looking after themselves or need someone to make sure they’re safe.

There are 3 rates to this component and the rate you are awarded depends on the amount of care or supervision you need. It is based on what help you need – not on the help you actually get.

It doesn’t matter whether you live alone or with other people or if you receive a lot of help or a little.

2. The mobility component

This is paid to people who have problems walking around outside the home. It has 2 rates and the rate you are awarded depends on the nature of your walking difficulties.

How much can I get with a Disability Living Allowance?

You can get 1 of 3 rates of the care component and 1 of 2 rates of the mobility component. All the rates are weekly.

The figures are adjusted each year in line with other benefits:

Care component

  • Highest rate: £82.30
  • Middle rate: £55.10
  • Lowest rate: £21.80

Mobility component

  • Higher rate: £57.45
  • Lower rate: £21.80

Will my Disability Living Allowance affect any other benefits?

Getting Disability Living Allowance may increase the amount of any means-tested benefits you receive, such as Housing Benefit or Working Tax Credit.

It can be paid in addition to any other social security benefits.

Disability Living Allowance is not taxable.

It is not based upon National Insurance contributions and any income or savings you may have do not affect it.

How is Disability Living Allowance paid?

Disability Living Allowance is normally paid every 4 weeks into a bank, building society or Post Office card account.

What happens if I go into hospital or a care home?

If you go into hospital, Disability Living Allowance will stop after a total of 4 weeks (either in one stay, or several stays, where the gaps between stays are no more than 4 weeks each time). It can restart when you return home.

If you pay your own fees for the care home without help from the local authority or health service, your Disability Living Allowance can continue to be paid.

If the local authority helps with the fees, the care component will stop after a total of 4 weeks (either in one stay, or several stays, where the gaps between stays are no more than 4 weeks each time). It can restart when you return home.

The mobility component is not affected even if the local authority helps with the fees.

If a nursing home is paid for by the health service, both the care and mobility components will usually stop after 4 weeks and can restart when you return home.

How long is Disability Living Allowance awarded for?

Disability Living Allowance is awarded for a fixed period of time.

This could be for just one year, or a longer period if your condition is not likely to change.

You will normally be contacted several weeks before the award runs out and invited to reapply.

What to do if your condition changes

What if my condition gets worse?

If you have only one component of Disability Living Allowance or a lower rate of one component and your condition gets worse, you can ask for your claim to be reviewed.

If this happens, however, you may need to make a claim for PIP rather than continue on Disability Living Allowance (see Important changes to Disability Living Allowance section above).

Before putting in your review request, try to get advice and information on the process.

If the Department for Work and Pensions gets information that shows that your care needs or mobility problems have reduced, then your Disability Living Allowance may be withdrawn. So, it’s really important that you provide an accurate record of your care needs or mobility problems.

Before asking for a review, you should consider how your needs have increased on a daily basis.

What extra support and help do you need now that you did not need when you first claimed Disability Living Allowance? Writing a diary of your care needs over 24 hours may help you with this.

It is important to get medical support before you ask for a review. A letter from your GP, specialist or Parkinson’s nurse that points out what your current care needs or mobility problems are, will help.

The letter may simply say that they have read the diary of your care needs and they agree that your condition would create those needs.

Who do I contact for a review?

If you think you have grounds for a review of your Disability Living Allowance, contact our free confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303 

When you ask for a review, you need to contact the Disability benefits helpline on 0345 712 3456 (Textphone 0345 722 4433). Unless you were aged 65 or over on 8 April 2013, in which case you need to contact the Attendance Allowance Unit on 0345 605 6055 (Textphone 0345 604 5312).

You will normally be sent a review form to complete.

What happens if my condition improves?

If your condition improves, you also need to get in touch with the Department for Work and Pensions (on one of the above numbers) as soon as you can. They will normally send you a review form to complete, so that they can re-assess your award.

It is always important to provide full, accurate information to the Department for Work and Pensions, and to let them know if your circumstances change.

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Helpline and local advisers

Our helpline and Parkinson's local advisers are here to answer any questions you have about advanced Disability Living Allowance.

Call us on 0808 800 0303.

More about the helpline and local advisers
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