Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance (D.L.A.) is a tax free Social Security benefit, divided into two parts called components, which is for people aged under 65 years who have an illness or disability who need:

Help with getting around - Mobility Component
or help with personal care - Care Component
or help with both of these - Both Components

It does not normally need a medical examination and is not affected by any savings that you have, nor usually by any money that you have coming in.

It is normally only paid if the illness or disability has lasted longer than 3 months and is likely to last longer than 6 months. It can only be back dated to the day that you first claim, and is paid automatically if you are terminally ill.

People may be able to get Disability Living Allowance for help with personal care even if no one actually gives them that help. People could need help with personal care because they:

  • need help with, for example, washing, dressing, using the toilet or something like this
  • need someone there to keep an eye on them
  • need someone with them when they are on dialysis
  • need help with preparing a cooked main meal, but only if they are over 16

The are currently three rates of help for the care component:

Highest rate £64.50 per week for people who need care or assistance both day and night
Middle rate £43.15 per week for people who need care or assistance by day or by night
Low rate £17.10 per week if you need some help during the day or cannot cook a main meal for yourself

Does it matter if I have no one to care for me?

No, you don't have to have a carer present to qualify. What matters is that you need help with personal care, supervision or watching over, not whether you are actually getting it. You also do not have to spend the allowance on buying care. It is up to you how you spend it.

People may be able to get help with getting around if they are aged between five and 65 and they:

  • cannot walk at all
  • have had both legs amputated above the ankle or at the ankle, or they were born without legs or feet
  • have difficulties with walking
  • are both deaf and blind and need someone with them when outdoors
  • are severely mentally impaired with severe behavioural problems and qualify for the higher rate care component for day and night needs
  • can walk but need someone with them when outdoors

There are currently two weekly rates of the mobility component:

Highest rate £45.00 per week for people who cannot walk or are virtually unable to walk
Lower rate £17.10 per week for people who can walk but have problems getting around by themselves

What tasks are not covered by Disability Living Allowance?

Assistance with domestic duties or household chores such as cleaning and shopping are not covered by Disability Living Allowance.

How long will it take to decide on my claim?

Depending on the information provided on the claim pack it can take anything up to 3 months. The more detail provided the quicker the claim can be processed.

Will I need to undergo a medical examination?

While the Benefits Agency (BA) leaflets state it does not normally need a medical examination it has been noted locally that where a claim for the mobility component is made a local doctor will visit the claimant to carry out an examination on behalf of the BA.

Are there any tips when completing the claim pack?

The claim pack is long and based on self assessment. Don't let that put you off. The fuller the accounts of your daily routine that you outline on the forms, the quicker your claim will be dealt with. It is important that you report an accurate picture of your day and night time needs. Don't underestimate the level of assistance required. All the information you provide is treated as CONFIDENTIAL and adds weight to your claim. However, if sections of the claim pack do not apply to you simply tick the "No Help Needed" boxes.

Who else needs to contribute to the Disability Living Allowance claim pack?

If you need help to complete the claim pack you can contact the C.A.T.C.H. U.P. office or local office of the Citizen's Advice Centre (C.A.B.). It will help your claim if you have the statements at the end of section 2 of the claim pack completed by:
a) someone who knows about your condition and b) your General Practitioner.

Will it reduce the money value of my other welfare benefits?

No, you can be in receipt of D.L.A. and still receive your other non means tested benefits. In fact, if you receive D.L.A. you may be able to apply for additional benefits such as Income Support, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit etc.

What happens if my claim is turned down?

Don't worry you have the right to ask for a review of your case. This means that another Adjudication Officer will look at your case again and you will have the opportunity of providing additional medical evidence to support your case.

But what happens if my review is also turned down?

You can then appeal against this decision. This means that your case will be heard by an Independent Appeal Tribunal which is normally held in Swansea. You will be able to attend the hearing and present your case as to why the benefit should be granted to you.

I don't think I would be able to deal with an appeal myself, where can I get help?

You can seek help from CATCHUP. Ltd, at 4 Coleshill Terrace, Llanelli or the local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) office in your area.

Will it cost me anything?

No, CATCHUP, whilst being a registered charity, have funding to help people with their appeals. Services provided by CAB. are also free.