Disability Living Allowance


Please note: Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a new benefit that is replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for eligible working age people aged 16 to 64, even if they have an indefinite or lifetime award of DLA. 

You can find further information on Personal Independence Payment in our Personal Independence Payment information guide

New claims for DLA

You can only make a new claim for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) if you’re claiming for a child under 16 – this is known as DLA for children. Anyone aged 16-64 must apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead of DLA.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children may help with the extra costs of looking after an eligible child who:

  •  is under 16
  • has difficulties walking, and/or, needs more looking after than a child of the same age.
  • They must have had these difficulties for at least 3 months and expect them to last for at least 6 months. If they’re terminally ill (i.e not expected to live more than 6 months), they don’t need to have had these difficulties for 3 months.

Eligibility and components

DLA is a tax free benefit and is made up of two components. The child might qualify for one or both components. You might get a letter saying the child needs an assessment to check their eligibility.

DLA is paid every four weeks

Care Component

The rate the child gets depends on the level of looking after they need e.g:

  • lowest rate – help for some of the day or night
  • middle rate – frequent help or constant supervision during the day; prolonged or repeated help or supervision at night; or someone to help while they’re on dialysis
  • highest rate – Help or supervision throughout both day and night, or they’re terminally ill.

Weekly rate 

Lowest                                        £23.20

Middle                                        £58.70

Highest                                       £87.65

Mobility component

The rate the child gets depends on the level of help they need walking eg:

  • lowest rate – they can walk but need more help and/or supervision when outdoors compared with other children of similar age. Can only be awarded once the child is 5 or over
  • highest rate – they can’t walk, can only walk a short distance without severe discomfort, could become very ill if they try to walk or they’re blind, severely sight impaired. Can only be awarded once the child is 3 or over.

Weekly rate

Lower                                       £23.20
Higher                                      £61.20

How to claim DLA

New claims

Call the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Disability Benefits Helpline on 0800 121 4600. They will send out an information pack and self-assessment form. It is important to include as much detailed and accurate evidence about the claimant’s care needs and mobility difficulties at this stage. You can also claim online at the GOV.UK website
When making a claim for benefits it is always advisable to speak with an expert that understands the entire benefits system. As well as help with completing benefit forms, an expert can help you work out what you’re entitled to or to appeal a decision you disagree with.

If your claim is successful it is always advisable to have a benefit check for the household. For example you might qualify for Carer’s Allowance if you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a child who gets the middle or higher rate of DLA care component.

Existing DLA adult claimants

From July 2015 – the DWP will start to contact everyone else still in receipt of and invite them to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

By October 2017 – most existing DLA claimants (aged 16 to 64 on 8 April 2013) will have been invited to claim PIP. Those people already aged 65 or over (on 8 April 2013) will not be reassessed for PIP, and will remain on DLA as long as they continue to satisfy the eligibility criteria.

Useful contacts

Disability Information Scotland

Call our helpline on 0300 323 9961 for basic information on welfare rights and benefits or to find your local advice service.  Search the Scottish Disability Directory online for details for your local disability information services.

Citizens Advice Scotland

To find a local bureau call 0808 800 9060 or search the Citizens Advice Scotland website.

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

Disability Benefits Helpline:
Telephone: 0800 121 4600
Text phone: 0800 121 4523

Government Information Service (GOV.UK)

Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance (SIAA)

Provide information on advocacy. Also provide a directory to find your local advocacy organisation.

Information last updated on 27 October 2020. Please note that information may be subject to change. All information is provided in good faith but Disability Information Scotland does not endorse any product or service referred to within this resource.

If you would like this information guide in another version then please contact us and we will post or email you a copy.

Money, Benefits & Grants:Frequently Asked Questions

Through our helpline we receive enquiries spanning a wide range of different topics. Here is a selection of those most asked:

How can I appeal a PIP decision?

How will PIP affect my ability to use the Motability Scheme?

Am I eligible for a reduction on Vehicle tax?

How can I find out what benefits might I be eligible for?

What support is available to help keep warm this winter?

Am I eligible for VAT relief on disability equipment?

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