What do I need to know about the Disability Living Allowance?

What do I need to know about the Disability Living Allowance?

Disability Living Allowance – sometimes referred to as DLA – is a tax-free benefit for children and adults who need help with personal care or have walking difficulties because they are physically or mentally disabled.

The information in this section is a guide only. The office dealing with your claim can answer any questions you may have about claiming and getting Disability Living Allowance.

Who can get Disability Living Allowance?

You may get Disability Living Allowance if:

  • you have a physical or mental disability, or both
  • your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself or you have walking difficulties, or both
  • you are under 65 when you claim

You can get Disability Living Allowance whether or not you work.

It isn’t usually affected by any savings or income you may have.

You can use the benefits adviser to find out if you are eligible. However from 8 April 2013, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) started to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged 16 to 64 with a health condition or disability.

If you’re aged 65 or over, you may be able to get Attendance Allowance.

Special rules – if you’re terminally ill

If you have a progressive disease and are not expected to live for more than another six months there are special rules to help you get the benefit quickly and easily. You must:


  • complete a DLA claim form
  • include a DS1500 form – you can only get these from a doctor, specialist or consultant


You can do this on behalf of someone else without their permission. The letter about the money awarded won’t mention ‘special rules’.

Medical examinations


You might get a letter saying you need to attend an assessment to check your eligibility. The letter explains why and where you must go. Your benefit may be stopped if you don’t go.

At the assessment, you’ll be asked for identification. You can use a passport or any three of the following:


  • birth certificate
  • a full driving licence
  • life assurance policy
  • bank statements



How much do you get?

Disability Living Allowance has two parts called ‘components':

  • a care component – if you need help looking after yourself or supervision to keep safe
  • a mobility component – if you can’t walk or need help getting around

Some people will be entitled to get just one component; others may get both.

The care component and mobility component are paid at different rates depending on how your disability affects you. FInd out more about what you’ll get on the GOV.UK website.

How it’s paid

Disability Living Allowance is normally paid directly into any account of your choice that accepts Direct Payment of benefits. This might be a bank, building society or other account provider.

You may be able to get someone else to collect your Disability Living Allowance – for help contact your bank, building society or other account provider.

Effect on other benefits and entitlements

If you start to get Disability Living Allowance it might increase the amount of other benefits you’re entitled to, for example:

  • Income Support
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit

Disability Living Allowance is ignored as income for working out these income-related benefits and tax credits.

Rates and how to claim

Claim straight away – if you delay you may lose benefit.

You can claim online or get a claim pack by:

What else you need to know

To get Disability Living Allowance you must generally be in Great Britain or treated as living here, and meet certain other conditions about your residence and presence.

Also, changes to your circumstances can affect the amount of Disability Living Allowance you get or whether you get it. For example, this could be a stay in hospital or if your disability gets worse or better.

Usually your DLA won’t be affected if you:

  • go into hospital or a care home for less than 4 weeks (or 12 weeks if you’re a under 16)
  • go abroad for less than 13 weeks
  • go abroad for less than 26 weeks to get medical treatment for a condition which began before you left

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