Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – A Guide

Focus on Disability - For Disabled People, the Elderly and their Carers in the UK

A Guide to Disability Living Allowance DLA, a tax-free benefit for disabled people who need someone to help look after them, or have walking difficulties.  Personal Independence Payment is replacing DLA in phases from April 2013.

See also:
Personal Independence Payment
Transfer from DLA to PIP
Disability Living Allowance for Children

Who can get Disability Living Allowance?

You may get Disability Living Allowance if:

  • you have a physical disability (including a sensory disability, such as blindness) or mental disability (including learning disabilities), or both
  • your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself or someone to supervise you, for your own or someone else’s safety, or you have walking difficulties, or both
  • you are under 65 when you claim

Normally, you must have had these care or supervision needs or walking difficulties for at least three months and they are likely to continue for at least a further six months. However, if you are terminally ill, there are special rules for claiming the benefit.

If you are aged 65 or over, you may be able to get Attendance Allowance. Attendance Allowance Information

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

It is usually not affected by any savings nor any income you may have.

Special rules – if you are terminally ill

If you have a progressive disease and you are not expected to live for more than another six months there are special rules for claiming to make sure you get your benefit more quickly and easily.

Medical examinations

You will not usually need a medical examination when you claim for Disability Living Allowance. If you are asked to have one you can find out more from the link below.

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 you safe
  • a mobility component – if you can’t walk or find it very hard to walk, or you need help getting around

Some people will be entitled to receive 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.

How it’s paid

Disability Living Allowance is normally paid directly into any account of your choice which 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 if you wish. For help with this please contact your bank, building society or other account provider.

If you would like more information about how you can be paid by other means please contact the office dealing with your claim – details are in the ‘Rates and how to claim’ section.

Effect on other benefits and entitlements

If you start to get Disability Living Allowance it might increase the amount of other benefits or credits you’re entitled to, such as:

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit

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

How to claim

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

You can claim online or get a claim pack by:

  • downloading the claim form from this page

There are two forms – one if you are claiming for someone aged 16 or over and another if you are claiming for someone aged under 16.

In April 2007 a new Disability Living Allowance (adult) claim form was introduced. Work is ongoing to develop the online version, which will be made available as soon as possible.

In the meantime you can still claim online or you can download the new claim form from this page.

Claim online

To claim Disability Living Allowance online, use the link below and follow the on-screen instructions.

Download a claim form to print at home

You can also download a claim form to print off and fill in using a pen. Each form comes with notes that will help you fill it in and tell you where to send it. In either case, the date of the claim will be established as the date on which it is received by your local office.

Download a claim form to complete on your computer

You can complete a claim form on your computer. We recommend that you save the form on your computer before completing it: to do this simply right click with your mouse on the link below and choose the ‘Save Target As’ option. You cannot save the form once you have opened it in an internet browser.

Once you have completed the form, you can print and sign it. Please note that the on-screen forms do not apply in Northern Ireland.

Once you have made your claim

Once you have made your claim, you can get advice on Disability Living Allowance from the Disability Living Allowance helpline who should have access to your records.

Telephone: 08457 123 456

Textphone: 08457 22 44 33

The helpline is open 7.30 am to 6.30 pm Monday to Friday.

Email: DCPU.Customer-Services@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

You can also use the Text Relay service.

It usually takes around 40 working days to deal with a new claim, unless the claim is made under the special rules, in which case it will be dealt with much more quickly.

Effect on other benefits and entitlements

If your claim for Disability Living Allowance is successful, you may get extra money paid with your:

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit

If someone is paid Carer’s Allowance for providing care to you, you may not be able to receive an extra amount for severe disability in any of these benefits or credits.

For more information, you should contact the office dealing with your claim for the benefit or credit concerned or contact the Disability Living Allowance Helpline (above).