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A guide to claiming Disability Living Allowance

A Guide To Claiming
Disability Living Allowance

What is Disability Living Allowance?

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a tax-free social security benefit intended for adults and children with a long-term illness or a disability. It can be paid in addition to other benefits such as Incapacity Benefit but can also be paid if you are working. Disability Living Allowance can be paid at a number of different rates and may be paid to those who need:

Help with personal care (the 'care components')


Help getting around (the 'mobility components')


Help with both of these

'Personal care' for the care components of the allowance includes requiring help from others with attention or supervision. 'Help with getting around' for the mobility components of the allowance includes those who may have difficulties with walking or need help to go to places.

Who can claim Disability Living Allowance?

Before considering claiming the allowance it is important to note the following additional points first:

  • To claim you must have needed help for 3 months and be likely to need it for at least another 6 months (but there are special rules for people with a terminal illness to help them get the allowance more quickly and easily)
  • You must claim before you reach the age of 65
  • You can get DLA even if no one is actually giving you the care you need
  • DLA is not usually affected by savings
  • DLA is not usually affected by other money you have coming in
  • You may not get DLA if you are in hospital or residential care
  • There are age limits for children claiming the mobility parts of the allowance

Do I Qualify For Disability Living Allowance?

The rules for Disability Living Allowance can seem complex as entitlement to the allowance can involve the consideration of the amount and frequency of help required, the risks faced which might require supervision, and the degree of difficulty or help required when walking outside. The following lists may help though by giving examples of the kinds of needs or difficulties which could count towards qualifying for the allowance:

Personal care needs

If you:

  • need help with, for example, washing yourself, dressing, getting to or using the toilet, getting into or out of bed, moving about indoors, help with medical treatment, help at mealtimes or something similar
  • need someone there to keep an eye on you, do you have fits, dizzy spells, blackouts, have falls or stumbles, or have problems communicating
  • need someone with you when you go out during the day and / or evening
  • have difficulty concentrating, need someone to remind or motivate you to do things, feel panicky or anxious if you try to do things or have other difficulties due to your mental health
  • need help preparing or cooking a main meal for yourself due to your difficulties
  • have problems when you are in bed, turning over, settling, or staying in bed, being propped up, getting into position to sleep, getting the bedclothes back on if they fall off
  • have a child (under 16) who has care needs that are substantially in excess of what is usual in children of the same age (this could be because they need more frequent help or they take longer to attend to)

Then you may qualify for one of the care components of the allowance.

Mobility needs

If you:

  • Have physical problems when walking out of doors (this could include: experiencing pain after walking only a short distance, getting short of breath, needing to keep stopping to rest, needing someone to support you, or having a problem with your balance).
  • Need someone with you when walking out of doors in unfamiliar places (this help could be needed to guide you or make sure you are safe. You may, for example, need help to cross the road or avoid obstacles, help to find your way around or help to cope with the effects of panic or anxiety).

Then you may qualify for one of the mobility components of the allowance.

How Do I Claim Disability Living Allowance?

If any of the difficulties mentioned above apply to you then you may wish to consider making a claim for DLA.
To obtain a claim form, form DLA 1A, - Telephone - 0800 882200 - or you can contact:
By writing to Disability Benefits Centre, Albert Bridge House, Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 9AF - Telephone - (0161) 831 2000.

The form will be stamped by the Disability Benefits Centre with the date it must be returned within the stated six weeks to obtain benefit from the date it was requested.

The form itself has two sections:

Section 1 is quite straightforward. This section requests some basic details (such as name, address, phone number, date of birth, National Insurance number, and nationality) as well as a very brief description of your disability or illness, what treatment or medication you receive, and asks for details of who may be contacted about your claim (such as your GP, Consultant, or Nurse). If you are claiming under the special rules you will be prompted to indicate this on this section of the form.

Section 2 is longer as it asks for details of how your illness or disability actually affects you during your day and night, what difficulties you have, and what help you would need to live as normal a life as possible. It is important to note that it is the help that you need rather than the help you necessarily receive that matters. Take your time with completing this section. Perhaps you could keep a diary over a few days and/or makes notes before you complete this section in order to think about how you can best explain your difficulties on the form.

You will need to describe what causes you problems, what you need help with, when you need this help, and what the help consists of. You also need to be clear about when the problems you describe started; the form asks for a date for mobility difficulties and another date for care needs.

Generally the more detail that you can put on the form the better as this will enable whoever is assessing your claim to have a more complete picture of your everyday difficulties.

Please note though that although section 2 gives you the opportunity to give a lot of details of your difficulties it is not essential to complete it. There is an option that you can tick on section 1 to ask for a doctor's visit instead of completing section 2 if you wish.

The forms should reach the Disability Benefit Centre before or on the date stamped on the form to be in time.

Help completing the Disability Living Allowance Form

If you live in Tameside and have difficulty completing the form, you can make an appointment to see a Customer Services Officer by ringing 0161 342 2284

If you wish to know more about benefits, you can get help from Tameside Council's Customer Service Centres.

A directory of information and advice providers is available or you can - Telephone 0845 608 1122 - Minicom - 0845 609 6677

Important - If you are already claiming Disability Living Allowance and consider that you may qualify for help at a different or additional rate of the allowance please seek advice before contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about your claim.

Remember that this is a general guide to DLA and not a full authoritative statement of law. We have made every effort to ensure that the information is correct at the date shown at the top of the page.

Page last updated: 4 November 2014