- Disability Living Allowance
Disability living allowance (DLA) is a non-means-tested, non-contributory benefit which can be claimed by a UK resident aged under 65 years who has care and/or mobility needs as a result of a mental or physical disability. It is tax free.
DLA is made up of a care component for people who need help with personal care needs and a mobility component for people who need help with walking difficulties.
Its detailed rules are exceptionally complex. This article should be treated as a simple guide. Further information can be found on the UK government web site  or from charities such as the Disability Alliance  or a Citizens Advice Bureau.
DLA is restricted to people who fall into all of the in the following categories:
- They must ordinarily be resident and present in the UK
- They must meet the rules concerning age: typically they must be under 65 when they claim; the lower age limit depends on which component they are claiming
- They must not be living in certain types of residential accommodation
- They must have had a disability for at least 3 months, and expect it to continue for at least six more months
- They must have care and/or mobility needs.
Individuals can qualify for DLA whether or not they are working. Earnings do not affect the amount of DLA received. People who are terminally ill typically qualify for the highest rate of Care component of DLA under what is termed "special rules".
DLA Care component is paid at one of 3 rates: lowest, middle and highest. From 13 April 2011 the rates are:
Care component Weekly rate Highest rate £73.60 Middle rate £49.30 Lowest rate £19.55
Lowest rate eligibility
Individuals are entitled to the lowest rate care component if they are so severely disabled that they:
- require another person to give them attention in connection with their bodily functions for a significant portion of the day during a single period or a number of periods; or
- cannot prepare a cooked main meal for themselves provided they have all the ingredients and are aged 16 or over.
Middle rate eligibility
Individuals are entitled to the middle rate care component if they are so severely disabled that they:
- require another person to give them frequent attention throughout the day in connection with their bodily functions; or
- require prolonged or repeated attention during the night in connection with their bodily functions; or
- require continual supervision throughout the day in order to avoid substantial danger to themselves or others; or
- require, another person to be awake for a prolonged period or at frequent intervals at night, for the purpose of watching over them in order to avoid substantial danger to themselves or others.
Highest rate eligibility
Individuals are entitled to the highest rate care component if they meet one of the day conditions and one of the night conditions for the middle rate care component.
DLA Mobility component is paid at one of 2 rates: lower and higher. From 13 April 2011 the rates are:
Mobility component Weekly rate Higher rate £51.40 Lower rate £19.55
Lower rate eligibility
Individuals are entitled to the lower rate mobility component if they are so severely mentally or physically disabled that they cannot walk outdoors on an unfamiliar route without guidance or supervision from another person most of the time.
Higher rate eligibility
Individuals are entitled to the higher rate mobility component if they:-
- are physically disabled and as a result are unable, or virtually unable, to walk; or
- are physically disabled and the exertion required to walk would endanger their life or health; or
- have had both legs amputated at or above the ankle, or were born without legs or feet; or are blind and deaf and need someone with them outdoors.
- are severely mentally impaired and have severe behavioural problems and receive the highest rate care component.
Making a claim for DLA
A claim is normally initiated by telephoning the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 882200 (in N. Ireland, 0800 220674).
Former PlannedUniversal Credit (2013)
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