Disability Living Allowance
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Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a social security benefit in the United Kingdom paid to eligible claimants who have personal care and/or mobility needs as a result of a mental or physical disability. It is tax-free, non-means-tested and non-contributory. The benefit was introduced in 1992 and prior to 2013 it could be claimed by UK residents aged under 65 years. However, the benefit was phased-out for the majority of claimants between 2013 and 2015 and replaced by a new Personal Independence Payment. DLA can still be claimed by children under 16 and can still be received by existing claimants who were aged 65 or over on 8 April 2013.
DLA is restricted to people who fall into all of the in the following categories:
- They must ordinarily be resident and present in the UK
- They must meet the rules concerning age. Adults aged under 65 could claim the benefit until 8 April 2013, and existing claimants aged 65 or over on that date can continue to receive it. The lower age limit depended on which component they were claiming. Since 2013 the upper age limit for new claims has been 16.
- They must not be living in certain types of residential accommodation
- They must have had a disability for at least 3 months, and expect it to continue for at least six more months
- They must have care and/or mobility needs.
Usually, to qualify for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children the child must:
- Be under 16
- Need extra looking after or have walking difﬁculties
- Be in Great Britain, another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland when you claim - there are some exceptions, eg family members of the Armed Forces
- Be habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands
- Not be subject to immigration control
- Have lived in Great Britain for 2 of the last 3 years, if over 3 years old
Children under 3
- A child under 6 months must have lived in Great Britain for at least 13 weeks.
- A child aged between 6 months and 3 years must have lived in Great Britain for at least 26 of the last 156 weeks.
Individuals can qualify for DLA whether or not they are working. Earnings do not affect the amount of DLA received. People who are terminally ill typically qualify for the highest rate of Care component of DLA under what is termed "special rules".
DLA care component is paid at one of three rates: lowest, middle and highest. From April 2015 the rates were:
|Care component||Weekly rate|
Lowest rate eligibility
Individuals are entitled to the lowest rate care component if they are so severely disabled that they:
- require another person to give them attention in connection with their bodily functions for a significant portion of the day during a single period or a number of periods; or
- cannot prepare a cooked main meal for themselves provided they have all the ingredients and are aged 16 or over.
Middle rate eligibility
Individuals are entitled to the middle rate care component if they are so severely disabled that they:
- require another person to give them frequent attention throughout the day in connection with their bodily functions; or
- require prolonged or repeated attention during the night in connection with their bodily functions; or
- require continual supervision throughout the day in order to avoid substantial danger to themselves or others; or
- require, another person to be awake for a prolonged period or at frequent intervals at night, for the purpose of watching over them in order to avoid substantial danger to themselves or others.
Highest rate eligibility
Individuals are entitled to the highest rate care component if they meet one of the day conditions and one of the night conditions for the middle rate care component.
DLA mobility component is paid at one of two rates: lower and higher. From April 2015 the rates were:
|Mobility component||Weekly rate|
Lower rate eligibility
Individuals are entitled to the lower rate mobility component if they are so severely mentally or physically disabled that they cannot walk outdoors on an unfamiliar route without guidance or supervision from another person most of the time.
Higher rate eligibility
Individuals are entitled to the higher rate mobility component if they:-
- are physically disabled and as a result are unable, or virtually unable, to walk; or
- are physically disabled and the exertion required to walk would endanger their life or health; or
- have had both legs amputated at or above the ankle, or were born without legs or feet; or are blind and deaf and need someone with them outdoors.
- are severely mentally impaired and have severe behavioural problems and receive the highest rate care component.
Mobility allowances are structured to provide persons with disabilities with mechanical aids to their mobility, which may include wheelchairs, scooters, or automobiles.
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit
- Attendance Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- "Appendix 6: introducing Personal Independence Payment". 2010 to 2015 government policy: welfare reform (policy paper) (Report). Department for Work and Pensions. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- Those over 65 with care needs should consider claiming Attendance Allowance instead.
- "Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children - GOV.UK". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 29 January 2016. This website is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0.