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Disability Living Allowance

What is Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a tax free benefit for people under the age of 65 and who need help looking after themselves and/or find it difficult to walk or get around because of an illness or disability.  

  • DLA is not means tested - your income and savings (or those of your partner) are not looked at when the decision is made about awarding DLA.
  • Receiving DLA may entitle you to other benefits (or increase the value of those benefits).
  • DLA is available whether you live alone or with other people.

For further information about DLA see our factsheets.

Who qualifies for Disability Living Allowance?

To claim DLA you must:

  • be under 65 years old when you first claim
  • have needed help for the past three months
  • expect to need help for at least a further six months.

How much is DLA worth?

DLA is made up of two components - mobility and care. You can claim and be awarded one or both of them.  


Mobility component

There are two rates of the mobility component:

  • Higher rate - £55.25 per week for people aged 3-65
  • Lower rate - £21.00 per week for people aged 5–65

Care component

There are three rates of the care component:

  • Higher rate - £79.15 per week
  • Middle rate - £53.00 per week
  • Lower rate - £21.00 per week

People who are terminally ill

People who are terminally ill (where death can reasonably be expected within 6 months) automatically get the higher rate of the care component. The person does not need to have required help for the previous 6 months.

These claims are dealt with quicker than standard claims.

This is known as claiming under Special Rules and the gov.uk website has more information about what you need to do to claim.

From 10 June 2013 if you are aged between 16 and 64 you will no longer be able to make a fresh claim to Disability Living Allowance even if you are claiming under Special Rules. You will need to claim Personal Independence Payments instead. 

How to apply

You can only apply for DLA for children under 16. All claims for adults will now be for Personal Independence Payments.

Getting help with filling in the application form

The form is quite long and complicated but there is help available.

Form filling guides

Use our form filling guides if you need help with the application form.

Online support

Many organisations supporting people with specific conditions offer advice on form filling on their websites. See our How to get advice page for details.

In person

Our Benefits advice sessions page lists local organisations that can offer help with filling in forms.

Existing claims

To discuss an existing claim:

  • Phone 08457 123 456
  • Textphone 08457 22 44 33

If you are refused DLA

Our Challenging decisions page gives further advice if your claim is turned down or you do not believe you have been awarded the right rate of DLA.






Changes to DLA from 10 June 2013

New claims

From 10th June 2013 if you are aged between 16 and 64 you will no longer be able to make a first claim for Disability Living Allowance. You will need to claim Personal Independence Payments instead. 

Existing claims

If you currently have a Disability Living Allowance award you may be invited to claim PIP. Different groups of people are being invited at different times. 

Check how Personal Independence Payments affects you by going using the checker on the GOV.UK website.

Examples of people awarded DLA

Parminder is blind. Her sister helps her to bathe, get dressed, prepare food and look after her child. She also helps her to go shopping and to go swimming every day. Parminder gets the middle rate care component and the higher mobility component.

Robert suffers from a severe mental illness which causes him to be very depressed and withdrawn. He neglects himself and needs encouragement to get up, eat properly, wash and dress adequately. He is also vulnerable to exploitation if he goes out alone. Robert gets the middle rate care and lower rate mobility components of DLA.

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