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Disability Living Allowance - eligibility

You may be eligible for Disability Living Allowance if you have walking difficulties or need help with your personal care. You must have had these needs for three months and expect to need this help or have these difficulties for at least another six months.

Eligibility

If you are already getting Disability Living Allowance when you reach 65, it may continue if you still have care and/or mobility needs.

If you have care needs

To get the care component of Disability Living Allowance, your disability must be severe enough for you to either:

  • need help with things such as washing, dressing, eating, getting to and using the toilet, or communicating your needs
  • need supervision to avoid you putting yourself or others in substantial danger
  • need someone with you when you are on dialysis
  • be unable to prepare a cooked main meal for yourself (if you have the ingredients), if you are aged 16 or over

There are three rates of care component depending on how your disability affects you:

Lowest rate

If you need help for some of the day or you are unable to prepare a cooked main meal.

Middle rate

if you need help with personal care frequently or supervision continually throughout the day only, or help with personal care or someone to watch over you during the night only, or someone with you while you are on dialysis.

Highest rate

If you need help or supervision frequently throughout the day and during the night.

You can get Disability Living Allowance for your care needs even if no one is actually giving you the care you need, even if you live alone.

If you have mobility needs

To get the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, your disability must be severe enough for you to have any of the following walking difficulties, even when wearing or using an aid or equipment you normally use:

  • because of a physical difficulty, you are unable or virtually unable to walk without severe discomfort, or at risk of endangering your life or causing deterioration in your health by making the effort to walk
  • you have no feet or legs
  • you are assessed to be both 100 per cent disabled because of loss of eyesight and not less than 80 per cent disabled because of deafness and you need someone with you when you are out of doors
  • you are severely mentally impaired with severe behavioural problems and qualify for the highest rate of the care component
  • you need guidance or supervision most of the time from another person when walking out of doors in unfamiliar places

There are two rates of the mobility component depending on how your disability affects you:

Lower rate

If you need guidance or supervision out of doors.

Higher rate

If you have any other, more severe, walking difficulties.

From April 2011, certain categories of severely sight impaired people are also eligible to claim the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance.

You need to be certified as severely sight impaired by a consultant ophthalmologist and be aged between three and 64 on 11 April 2011. You must also:

  • have a best corrected visual acuity of less than 3/60
  • have a best corrected visual acuity of 3/60 or more, but less than 6/60
  • have a complete loss of peripheral visual field and a central visual field of no more than ten degrees in total

You may be entitled to only the care component or only the mobility component, or you may be entitled to both.

If you are claiming for a disabled child

Your child must need a lot more help or supervision than other children of the same age.

You can claim for care needs before a child is aged three months. However, benefit will not be paid before the child reaches the age of three months unless they are paid under ‘special rules’ (see below).

You can claim for mobility needs form age three, if your child:

Special Rules - If you are terminally ill

If you have a progressive disease and are not reasonably expected to live for more than six months, you can get Disability Living Allowance more quickly.  You can get the highest rate of the care component whatever your care needs are. And you can get the care component and (if you meet the conditions) the mobility component, without waiting three months.

You can make a claim for someone under the special rules without them knowing or without their permission. If they satisfy the relevant conditions, they will get a letter saying that they have been awarded Disability Living Allowance. Special rules will not be mentioned in the letter.

To claim under these special rules you will need to:

  • complete a Disability Living Allowance claim form
  • get a separate completed form DS1500 from your doctor, specialist or consultant to send with it

You can find out more about caring for someone who is terminally ill in the ‘caring for someone’ section.

Your circumstances

Your entitlement to Disability Living Allowance and the amount you get is based on the information you told Disability and Carers Service.  If this information changes, it is your responsibility to tell Disability and Carers Service. They can then check you are still entitled to the benefit and whether you are getting paid the correct amount.

If you are not sure what changes you need to tell Disability and Carers Service about, please read Disability Living Allowance – your circumstances.

Living in Northern Ireland and if your circumstances change

There is extra information about being in Northern Ireland, or being treated as living here, and other conditions about your residence and presence which you need to meet Disability Living Allowance.

There is also extra information about how a change to your circumstances may affect your Disability Living Allowance.