Disability Living Allowance for Children

Authored by , Reviewed by Dr Hayley Willacy | Last edited | Meets Patient’s editorial guidelines

Disability Living Allowance for children is a payment to help with the extra costs of looking after a child under the age of 16 with special needs.

Note: this leaflet gives a brief summary of DLA for children and is for guidance only. It does not cover all situations, nor is it a full statement of the law. Sources of further, more detailed information are given in the Further reading section, below the leaflet.

You can claim for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children whether or not you are working. You must be the person looking after the child as if you were the parent. When you claim, you must be in Great Britain and the child must have needed looking after for at least three months before claiming. (However, if the child is terminally ill there is no such qualifying period. See the separate leaflet called Benefits for the Terminally Ill.)

To qualify for DLA for children, the child:

  • Must be aged under 16 years.
  • Must need more help to be looked after than a child without an illness or disability.
  • And/or must have difficulty walking.

The amount paid depends on how much help the child needs. The Care Component has three rates:

  • Lowest - the child needs help for some of the day or night.
  • Middle - the child needs frequent help or constant supervision during the day or supervision at night.
  • Highest - the child needs help or supervision throughout both day and night, or they're terminally ill.

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The amount paid depends on how mobile the child is and has two rates:

  • Lowest - the child can walk but needs help and or supervision if they are outside.
  • Highest - the child can't walk, or can only walk a short distance without severe discomfort, or could become very ill if they try to walk; or the child is severely sight impaired.

DLA for children is a tax-free benefit and the child may get one or both of the components. The April 2018 rates are:

  • Care Component
    • Lowest - £22.65 per week.
    • Middle - £57.30 per week.
    • Highest - £85.60 per week.
  • Mobility Component
    • Lowest - £22.65 per week.
    • Highest - £59.75 per week.

You need to complete a claim form to find out if the child is entitled to DLA for children. To get a claim form:

  • Telephone Disability Living Allowance on 0800 121 4600, Mon-Fri, 8 am to 6 pm.
  • Download one from GOV.UK (follow the links from Further reading below).
  • If you live in Northern Ireland, you can download one from the nidirect website (details below).

When your child turns 16 they may have to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in their own right. See separate leaflet called Personal Independence Payment for more details.