Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children.

Havering Welfare Benefits Adviser Lorraine Moss today writes in the Havering Daily:

DLA is a non means tested disability benefit for children under the age of 16.  When a child is over 16, they will have to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead. 

You can apply for DLA for both physical, mental and behavioral problems.  If your child has learning difficulties or developmental delay, they may be eligible. 

To qualify, they must have had the condition for at least 3 months and you must expect it to last for at least 6 months.   You can apply without a diagnosis but the more medical evidence that you have to support your claim will help. 

Who Can Claim DLA (source www.carersuk.org)

For a child under the age of 16 years to qualify for DLA, they must meet all of the following criteria:● they must need care, attention or supervision because of a physical or mental disability or health condition (and your child does not need to have an actual diagnosis)● they must have needed this care, attention or supervision for at least three months, and be likely to need this care, attention or supervision for a further six months (you can make the claim before the three months have passed, but you will not receive any payment until they have)● they must need substantially more care, attention or supervision than other children of the same age who do not have a disability or health condition● they must have no immigration conditions attached to their stay in the UK subject to some exceptions (if they have immigration restrictions on their stay in the UK claiming benefits may affect their future right to remain in the UK, so seek specialist immigration advice before claiming – you can search for immigration specialists here)● they must meet the residence and presence conditions (see below).

Note: If the child is an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and does not have indefinite leave to remain, in order to claim DLA, they must have pre-settled or settled status or, have had a right to reside on 31 December 2020. If you think that you are affected, you should act quickly and contact a local advice service for help. The Advicelocal website has details of services local you.

The Gov.uk website has more information about how to apply for the settled status scheme (including applying for your child) and an online enquiry form. You can also use the government website to search for agencies that can help you to apply  The charity Settled can offer further information and guidance.

Note: If your child is terminally ill there are simpler rules which make it easier to apply – see here for further information.

How Much Is DLA Worth (source www.carersuk.org)

There are two components of DLA:● care component – this can be paid at a lower, middle or higher rate – there is no lower age limit for claiming. (However there is a three month qualifying period. If your child is terminally ill there is no qualifying period.)● mobility component – this can be paid at a lower or higher rate. However, the higher rate cannot be paid until the child is three years of age and the lower rate cannot be paid until the child is five years of age.

For 2021/22 the rates are:




Care component




Mobility component




The Care and Mobility Components 

The care component

The care component of DLA can be paid to a child who needs a lot of extra help with personal care, supervision or if they need watching over. The help they need must be substantially more than the help needed by a child of the same age without a disability or health condition.

The lower rate care component is for children who need help in connection with their personal care for a significant portion of the day (which generally means at least an hour a day – although this does not necessarily have to be all at once). 

The middle rate care component is for children that have either daytime or night-time needs (see explanation below). Special rules apply for some children undergoing renal dialysis at least twice per week. 

The higher rate care component is for children who have both daytime and night-time needs (see explanation below). Your child will automatically get the higher rate if they are terminally ill.

To satisfy a daytime test your child must need either of the following:● frequent help with personal care throughout the day (ie, several times – not once or twice but three times or more). This would be active help needed because of their disability and includes personal actions and anything to do with the body and how it works.● someone to check on them continually (ie frequently or regularly but not non-stop) throughout the day to make sure that they are safe and to avoid substantial danger to themselves or others. 

To satisfy a night-time test your child must need one of the following:● help with personal care at least twice a night, or once a night for at least 20 minutes● someone to check on them at least twice a night, or once a night for at least 20 minutes, to make sure that they are safe and to avoid substantial danger to themselves or others. 

Help with personal care needs include help with things like:● dressing and undressing● bathing and washing● using the toilet● getting in and out of a chair● getting in and out of bed and sleeping● walking● communicating● help with medication and treatment● eating and drinking● seeing (ie you need someone to see for you)● breathing.

A child is considered to need someone to check on them if they need to be checked on regularly during the day to avoid ‘substantial danger’ to themselves or others.

The mobility component

If your child needs help getting around they may qualify for the mobility component. You need to show that your child is unable or virtually unable to walk and/or needs substantially more guidance and supervision than a child of the same age without a disability or health condition.

The lower rate mobility component can be paid to a child from the age of five years. It is for children who can walk but who need extra guidance or supervision on unfamiliar routes outdoors.

The higher rate mobility component can be paid to a child from the age of three years. It is for children who are unable, or virtually unable to walk, or where the exertion required to walk would constitute a danger to their life or would be likely to lead to a serious deterioration in their health. Children can also qualify if they have a severe visual impairment, are both deaf and blind, or are severely mentally impaired.

Four factors are taken into account when deciding whether your child is virtually unable to walk. The test is whether their:

‘ability to walk out of doors is so limited, as regards to:● the distance over which● the speed at which● the length of time for which or● the manner in which

(they) can make progress on foot without severe discomfort, that (they are) virtually unable to walk.’

To qualify for the higher rate mobility component because of severe mental impairment, the child has to meet all the following criteria:● be entitled to the higher rate care component of DLA● suffer from a state of arrested development or incomplete physical development of the brain which results in severe mental impairment of intelligence or social functioning● exhibit ‘disruptive behaviour’ which ‘is extreme’ and ‘regularly requires another person to intervene and physically restrain them to prevent them from causing injury to themselves or another, or damage to property’● be so unpredictable that they require another person to watch over them whenever they are awake

How to Apply For DLA

Please see Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children: How to claim – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)  

To claim DLA for a child you need to be their parent or look after them as if you’re their parent. This includes step-parents, guardians, grandparents, foster-parents or older brothers or sisters.

To apply you can either:● print off and fill in the DLA claim form● phone the Disability Living Allowance helpline and ask for a printed form

Disability Living Allowance helpline
Telephone: 0800 121 4600
Textphone: 0800 121 4523
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 121 4600

Help With The Application

You get help with completing the form from the Citizens Advice Bureau, please see Search for your local Citizens Advice – Citizens Advice.  If you are a Havering resident, you can also contact Peabody on  01708 776770

Important, If your Child Is Awarded DLA, It will Increase Your Child Tax Credits or Universal Credit

I often find many people who are missing out the Disabled child element of Tax Credits or The Disabled Child Addition of Universal Credit.

You need to inform either HMRC (Tax Credits) or the Universal Credit Helpline (0800 328 5644) or you can add a note in your Universal Credit journal. 

Child Tax Credits Disabled Child Element

Disabled Child Element

This is payable if your child receives any rate of PIP(for children over 16) or DLA, The amount payable is £3435.00 per year which is £66.06 per week.

Severely Disabled Child Element

If your child receives high rate care DLA or PIP (Enhanced Daily Living, children over 16) then you will be entitled to an extra element of £4825 per year which is £92.79 per week. 

Universal Credit

Disabled child addition Lower rate

If your child is in receipt of any rate of DLA or PIP (for children over 16) they will be eligible for the Disable Child lower addition which is £128.89 per calendar Month.

Disabled Child Addition Higher Rate

If your child is in receipt of High Rate Care DLA or Enhanced daily Living (PIP) then they will be eligible for The Higher rate which is £402.41 per Calendar month. 

Carers Allowance and The Carers Element of Universal Credit 

If your child is awarded DLA mid rate care of above or the standard daily living component of PIP you may be able to claim Carers Allowance for looking after them if you meet the qualifying criteria.  If you are on Universal Credit, you may be able to claim the Carers Element.  Please see Carer’s Allowance – Citizens Advice and The Carer Element Of Universal Credit. – The Havering Daily

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