A government benefit for children up to 16, who are disabled, or have long-term health problems lasting for at least 9 months.

Children with a wide range of physical and mental impairments and health problems may get Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Your child doesn't need to be registered as disabled, and may go to a mainstream school.

The amount you get varies according to the level and type of need required.

Your income and DLA

DLA is paid on top of earnings and benefits, is tax free and it is not affected by any savings. A successful claim for DLA can mean that you're entitled to more help, like Carer's Allowance or a disabled child element in Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit.

Who can get DLA

Your child may be able to get DLA up to the age of 16 if:

  • they need more looking after than most children of the same age, this includes help with washing, dressing, eating or using the toilet, or needing to be watched over to prevent harm
  • they're three years old or over, and cannot walk, or have difficulty walking a short distance due to pain or breathlessness, or they have severe sight or mental impairment
  • they're five years old or over, and can walk, but need more looking after when they are in unfamiliar places, than most children of the same age
  • they have other care or mobility needs in excess of most children of the same age
  • they have had these difficulties for at least three months and you expect them to last for at least another six months.

One or more of these needs may mean that the child qualifies for DLA care, or mobility payments, or both. 

Children who often miss out on DLA

Children who have less visible disabilities often miss out.  Examples include children who:

  • need supervision or help with communicating due to sight or hearing difficulties
  • have challenging behaviour leading to risks to themselves or others, so need someone to keep an eye on them
  • have less visible physical conditions which restrict their activities and mean they need extra help
  • can manage some of their personal care, but need help beyond the age when other children can manage by themselves
  • have learning difficulties or development delays

Terminally ill children

There are special rules if your child is terminally ill; they don't need to have had these difficulties for three months and the claim should be processed within two weeks.

Find out more

Ask us about making a new benefit claim or for a benefit check.