Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Disability Living Allowance is a benefit for adults and children with disabilities. It is for people who need help looking after themselves and those who find it difficult to walk or get around. You do not need to have someone looking afteryou to qualify.

DLA is tax free, not means tested and is not dependent on any National Insurance
Contributions to qualify. It is paid on top of earnings or other income. It is almost always
paid in full on top of social security benefits or tax credits. DLA is divided into two parts:

  • A care component – for help with personal careneeds, paid at three different levels;
  • A mobility component – for help with walking difficulties, paid at two levels.

The care component or the mobility component can be paid on its own, or both together at
the same time. DLA is paid to the disabled person, not to the parent or carer and is paid
irrespective of whether the disabled person receives help from someone to look after them.

Although DLA can be paid indefinitely, there is an upper limit for making the first claim. DLA can only be paid if a claim is made before a person’s 65th birthday. Otherwise, Attendance Allowance (AA) can be claimed. AA has no mobility component, but the disability tests are the same as for DLA middle and higher rate care components.

To qualify for DLA a series of non-disability tests must be passed and also satisfy at least
one disability tests. There is no lower age limit for DLA care component but there is an extra disability test for children under 16.

For further information on DLA  to find out whether you qualify, the Direct.gov
website (www.direct.gov.uk) is a fairly good resource for the most up to date information
and any changes to welfare or benefit rules and regulations are likely to be on there before filtering down to the job centre frontline (or call centre staff.)

The Benefit Enquiry Line (BEL) 0800 882 200 gives free advice on benefits for disabled people or contact your local Jobcentre Plus office

Changes to disability benefits from April 2013

As part of plans to reduce spending on Disability Living Allowance by 20% (£1 billion) over the next four years, the Government has launched a consultation on proposals to scrap Disability Living Allowance and replace it with a ‘Personal Independence Payment’. This proposal would be one of the biggest changes in disability benefits since Disability Living Allowance was created and has big implications for carers.

Although reshaping disability benefits does present opportunities to improve the application and assessment processes for disabled people, these plans will mean that hundreds of thousands of disabled people will see their benefits reduced or removed.


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