What is disability living allowance?

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2 What is disability living allowance? Disability living allowance (DLA) is a non-means-tested cash benefit for people with a disability or long-term health problem. It is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). DLA can be paid to children who have difficulty with personal care or with getting around outdoors due to a mental or physical illness or disability. DLA for adults aged 16 to 64 has been replaced for new claims by a new benefit called the personal independence payment (PIP). Children under 16 can still start a claim for DLA. For more information on claiming DLA for children see our factsheet extra money if you have a child with a disability on If you are aged 16 or over and already getting DLA, see below for more information about how long your DLA is likely to continue. For further information about PIP and how it will affect you if you are already getting DLA see our factsheet on personal independence payment at If you are aged 65 or over and not already getting DLA or the new personal independence payment (PIP), you may qualify for attendance allowance (AA) instead. For more information, see our factsheet on AA at DLA has two parts (components) the care component and the mobility component. Claimants can get one, or both of these. The care component has three different rates, while the mobility component has two different rates. What are the different rates of DLA? DLA weekly rates Care component Lowest rate This is paid to those who need help with personal care for a significant portion of the day, either during a single period of about an hour or a number of periods that add up to an hour a day. It can also be paid to those aged 16 or over who cannot prepare a cooked main meal. Middle rate This is paid to those who:. or need frequent help with personal care throughout the day, or need continual supervision throughout the day to avoid a substantial danger; Money Advice Unit 2

3 during the night need prolonged or repeated help with personal care, or need another person to be awake for a prolonged period or at frequent intervals to avoid substantial danger Highest rate This is paid to those who need the above help/supervision during the day and the night or those who are terminally ill and claiming under special rules. Mobility component Lower rate (from age five) This is paid to those who need guidance or supervision from another person when walking outdoors in unfamiliar areas. Higher rate (from age three) This is paid to those who are unable to walk or virtually unable to walk due to a physical disability. It can also be paid to those who o are entitled to the highest rate care component and are severely mentally impaired with extremely disruptive behavioural problems or o are registered severely sight impaired (blind) and have visual acuity of less than 3/60, or less than 6/60 with a severely restricted field of vision. If you or your child get DLA higher rate mobility component you can use the mobility component to pay for a car or powered wheelchair. To use this scheme, your higher rate mobility component must have at least 12 months still to run. For more information, contact Motability on How to claim DLA New claims for DLA can now only be made for children under 16. If you have recently come to live in the UK your child must usually have been in the country for two out of the last three years before applying, although this time is reduced for younger children. Seek advice if you think this applies to you. Parents and guardians can apply for DLA on behalf of their child. To start a claim for DLA: telephone the DWP on and ask for a claim form or download or complete a claim form online at For more information on claiming DLA for children see our factsheet extra money if you have a child with a disability on Money Advice Unit 3

4 What happens to people who are already getting DLA? Will they be transferred to PIP? If you currently get DLA and you were aged between 16 and 64 on 8 April 2013, you will be invited to apply for PIP at some time before spring The DWP will write to you telling you how to apply. You will not be able to choose to keep DLA as an alternative The DWP is phasing in this transfer in specific areas. Hertfordshire is not currently in a designated reassessment area so Herts residents who are currently getting DLA can continue to receive it for the time being and can renew their awards. This includes young people turning 16. You can also ask for a change in your DLA, for example, because your condition has worsened see page 5. However, if you are seeking a change in your award get further advice and check on to make sure that PIP reassessment has not yet started. The following procedure will apply once Hertfordshire becomes a designated PIP transfer area. The first group of DLA claimants who will be told to apply for PIP instead of remaining on DLA will be those who: - are approaching the end of fixed term DLA award - reporting a change in their needs - reaching their 16th birthday Between October 2015 and 2018, all remaining DLA claimants (except for children and those who were aged 65 or over on 8 April 2013) will be invited to claim PIP. Once they are invited to apply for PIP they must do so within the time limits in order to carry on getting DLA until the result of their PIP claim has been decided. If they don t apply for PIP within the time limit, their DLA will stop. If they pass the conditions for PIP they will be moved on to it. If the DWP decide that they do not qualify for PIP, their DLA will end. Depending on how their disability affects them, they may be entitled to the same amount, a lower amount or a higher amount. However, some DLA claimants will not be awarded PIP at all. DLA recipients in the designated reassessment areas can choose to apply to transfer to PIP, even if the DWP have not yet invited them to do so. However, any claimant who is considering doing this should get advice first. Many DLA claimants will not get any extra money by transferring to PIP, and some will be worse off. For further information about PIP and how it will affect you if you are already getting DLA see our personal independence payment factsheet on Money Advice Unit 4

5 What to do if you or your child is currently getting DLA and your care/mobility needs have increased. Adults aged under 65 on 8 April 2013 If you are already getting DLA and your health has got worse, or your needs have increased, you may qualify for a higher rate of DLA. You can ask for your claim to be looked at again - this is called a supersession. It is important to get advice before doing this because it is possible that the DWP could reduce what you have already got, instead of increasing it. However, claimants in designated reassessment areas are not able to switch to a different rate of DLA. If they report a change of circumstances their DLA claim will end and they will be invited to apply for personal independence payment (PIP) instead. Hertfordshire is not currently in a designated reassessment area, but will become one at a future date (yet to be announced). Details will be made available on So in Hertfordshire, If you still want to report a change in your care or mobility needs after seeking advice, write to the Blackpool Benefits Centre or phone them on Adults aged 65 or over on 8 April 2013 If you already get DLA and your health has got worse or your needs have increased, you can ask for your DLA claim to be looked at again. You can still do this even if you live in a reassessment area where younger DLA claimants are being told to apply for PIP. However, additional rules apply to DLA claimants aged 65 and over. For example you can t start receiving DLA mobility component, or switch to a different rate of the mobility component, unless you met the conditions before your 65 th birthday. Seek advice. Child claimants (aged under 16) If your child already gets DLA and their health has got worse or their needs have increased, you can ask for their DLA claim to be looked at again (a supersession). Even if your child s condition is unchanged or improving slowly, the amount of extra help that they need when compared with a child of the same age who doesn t have a disability may increase as they get older. It is important to get advice before asking for a DLA claim to be looked at again, because it is possible that the DWP could reduce what you have already got, rather than increase it. To report a change in your child s care or mobility needs, write to the Blackpool Benefits Centre or phone them on See our children with disabilities factsheet on for more information. Money Advice Unit 5

6 How does DLA affect other benefits? If you, or your partner or dependant child, get DLA it may help you to qualify for extra benefit. It could help you to either get - or get more - income support, pension credit, incomebased jobseeker s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, housing benefit or council tax support. This is especially true if you are an adult on DLA, you live alone and no-one receives carer s allowance for looking after you. Tell the office that pays you these other benefits if you get DLA. Carers looking after someone who gets DLA highest or middle rate care component may qualify for carers allowance and/or extra means tested benefits. If you are caring for an adult who gets DLA you should get advice before claiming carer s allowance, because it can sometimes affect the benefits paid to the person who is being looked after. For more information see our factsheet extra money for carers at If you have a child who is unable to share a bedroom because of severe disabilities, you may be able to claim housing benefit for a room for them. The housing benefit department will have to agree that this is the case. They will consider not only the nature and severity of the disability, but also the nature and frequency of care required during the night, and the extent and regularity of the disturbance to the sleep of the child who would normally be required to share the bedroom. It will therefore be helpful if you can supply supporting medical evidence. Your child must be getting middle or highest rate of DLA care component. If you, your partner or your child get DLA you may be awarded extra tax credits - notify the Tax Credits Office of any award. If you or your child get DLA higher rate mobility component you qualify for exemption from car tax and will be eligible for a Blue Badge to extend your car parking rights. You can apply for a Blue Badge from Hertfordshire County Council - see below for details. What happens to DLA in hospital or a care home? If you apply for DLA for your child while in an NHS hospital it will not be paid until they leave. If you or your child already get DLA when you go into an NHS hospital, it won t be paid after 28 days (adults) or 84 days (children under 16). Both components of DLA will stop, even if you are using your DLA to pay for a Motability vehicle. If you have a Motability vehicle and went into hospital on or after 9 April 2013, you will be allowed a grace period of up to 28 days after your DLA stops, to arrange for the vehicle to be returned. It may be possible to extend this in some cases contact Motability on If you went into hospital before 9 April 2013, your Motability arrangements can continue until the agreement comes to an end. DLA does not stop if you are a private patient or you are in a hospice. Money Advice Unit 6

7 If you go into a care home, DLA care component stops after 28 days if Health and Community Services (HCS) helps to pay the fees for your accommodation. If you pay the fees yourself, or have agreed you will repay HCS when, for example, you sell your house, DLA care component does not stop. DLA mobility component is not affected by stays in a care home. If you are in nursing care that is funded by the NHS you are treated as though you are in a hospital. Separate stays in hospital or residential care that are less than 28 days apart get added together when working out the 28 (or 84) days before DLA is suspended. For further information please see our factsheet care home fees and benefits available on If you lose your DLA because you are in hospital or a care home, it should start again when you return home, as long as you tell Blackpool Benefits Centre. You should also tell the office that pays you your other benefits if your DLA has stopped or restarted, because loss of DLA could affect how much you get from these other benefits. Money Advice Unit 7

8 Further help and advice Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) General enquiries: Textphone: Health and Community Services: Children s Services: Online information: Money Advice Unit Online benefits information: HertsHelp (local advice, information and support) Tel: Online information: Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) Legal help and advice CAB Advice Line: Disability Benefits helpline: Online information: Information about local CAB opening times: Civil Legal Advice Legal help and information Helpline: / Online information: GOV.UK Government website with information on benefits and public services Blackpool Benefits Centre Warbreck House, Warbreck Hill, Blackpool, FY2 0YE Carer s Allowance Unit Palatine House, Lancaster Road, Preston, Lancs PR1 1HB Appendix One What to do if you are unhappy with a decision about disability living allowance (DLA) Before you decide whether to dispute a decision, make sure you understand the rules as described in the first part of this factsheet. When you are satisfied an award, or a higher award, should have been granted you can challenge the decision. You must first ask for a mandatory reconsideration before you can put in an appeal. Money Advice Unit 8

9 Note: If you are over 16 and have been refused DLA or awarded a lower rate, you may want to consider applying for personal independence payment (PIP) instead. However, seek advice before doing this. How do I ask for a mandatory reconsideration? Phone or write to the DWP office that made the decision, using the address or phone number on the letter they sent you. Ask them for a mandatory reconsideration. Someone else in the department will look at the claim again and see if the decision should be changed. You have one month from the date on the decision letter to ask for it to be looked at again. (This time limit can be extended in some circumstances seek advice.) You can also request a written statement of reasons for the decision. This is a more detailed account of why DLA has been refused or awarded at a lower rate than you think you should have been awarded. A request for written reasons extends the one-month time limit for asking for a reconsideration by 14 days. It is worth writing a letter telling them again about the difficulties you or your child are having. Bear in mind the criteria for DLA outlined above. It s unlikely that the decision will be changed unless you can provide some additional information or evidence. You may be able to get a friend, relative, carer, doctor, social care worker, or somebody else that knows about your situation, to write a letter confirming your problems and supporting your claim. If you think it will take you some time to gather this together, make this clear when you ask for the revision so that a new decision isn t made whilst you are getting the information. What if benefit is still refused or not awarded at the right level? If a decision maker is likely to reach an adverse decision, they will call you and you should use this opportunity to provide further evidence that might help your case. Whether they change the decision or not, the DWP will tell you the outcome in writing. They will send you two copies of a mandatory reconsideration notice. How do I ask for an appeal? If you are still unhappy with the decision you can then appeal to an independent tribunal. You have one month from the date of the mandatory reconsideration to appeal. (This time limit can be extended in some circumstances seek advice). You should appeal using form SSCS1 which is available from the DWP or from advice services or online at You should send the completed SSCS1 to HM Courts & Tribunals Service and must also enclose the mandatory reconsideration notice. Try to gather evidence about your condition and how it affects you or your child. Letters from doctors, consultants, or other professionals involved in your case carry a lot of weight with tribunals. It may also help if you can keep a diary for a week or so, showing the sort of help that is needed, so that you don t forget anything. After you send in your appeal, the DWP will look at the papers again and a new decision could be made at this stage. If this decision is favourable to you, the appeal process will Money Advice Unit 9

10 stop so if you are still unhappy you will need to start the appeal again. If the DWP do not change their decision, they must return their appeal response to HMCTS within 28 days. If the appeal goes to tribunal you will be sent a copy of all the papers related to your claim, including your claim form and any medical or other evidence that has been used by the DWP to make their decision. At the same time you will be sent an enquiry form to complete and return within 14 days. If you miss the deadline your appeal will lapse. The enquiry form asks you whether you wish to continue with your appeal, whether you would like an oral or paper hearing and if there are any dates you are not available. A paper hearing is where the tribunal just look at information that has been received about your claim. An oral hearing is where you attend a hearing and a tribunal ask you questions about the difficulties you (or your child) have. Please try to attend the hearing as this is your opportunity to discuss your case and the tribunal can learn more about your case than can be gathered from papers alone. What happens at the appeal hearing? The tribunal panel is made up of three people: a judge, who is legally qualified, a doctor and a lay person who understands disability issues. They are independent and decide cases purely on merit. The appeal will normally be heard at the tribunal venue nearest your home. If this is not the most convenient place for you, notify the clerk dealing with your appeal and it may be possible for a different venue to be arranged. You can bring a relative or friend to the hearing if you wish. At the hearing, everyone sits around a large table. Each member of the panel will take it in turn to ask you questions. When answering their questions, try and draw a link between your illness or disability and the assistance you (or your child) needs. Give plenty of detail and examples of how you (or your child) have difficulty with different activities, and emphasise how often you (or your child) need help. Make sure you understand the criteria to qualify for the benefit and be aware of these when answering questions. You will then be asked to leave the room while the tribunal make their decision. You will probably be invited back into the room to be told the decision, or alternatively they may send you a written decision. The tribunal will give or send you a decision notice and they will also send a copy to the benefit office that made the original decision. The benefit office will then carry out the instructions of the tribunal. If your appeal is successful you will be paid benefit from the date the original claim would have been paid from. If your appeal is unsuccessful seek further advice as you may be able to request another appeal to the Upper Tribunal, but strict rules and time limits apply. This information is for guidance only and is not an authoritative statement of the law PRODUCED BY THE MONEY ADVICE UNIT Money Advice Unit 10

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