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If you're an adult on Disability Living Allowance

This advice applies to England

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit for people who have difficulty with everyday tasks or getting around.

You can’t make a new claim for DLA if you’re 16 or over – check what other benefits you might be able to claim.

Check if you’ll be moved from DLA to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Most people are being moved to PIP, the benefit that’s replacing DLA. The rules are different depending on when you were born.

If you were born before 9 April 1948

You won’t be moved to PIP – you’ll keep getting DLA as long as you’re still eligible.

If your DLA has stopped in the last year, you can apply for it to start again. If your DLA stopped over a year ago, you’ll have to claim Attendance Allowance instead.

If you were born on or after 9 April 1948

You’ll have to claim PIP instead of DLA when any of the following happen:

  • you tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that your condition has changed – for example it’s got worse
  • the DWP send you a letter asking you to claim PIP
  • your DLA ends because it was awarded for a fixed period of time - for example 10 years

Check what to do when you have to move to PIP.

If your situation changes

You should tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if your situation changes – this is called reporting a ‘change of circumstances’.

A change of circumstances includes if:

  • you change your name, address or bank details
  • your doctor’s details change
  • you go into a hospital or care home
  • you go abroad for more than 13 weeks

Your DLA might stop if you go into a hospital or care home for more than 4 weeks or you go abroad for more than 13 weeks. The rules are complicated – contact your nearest Citizens Advice to check if you can keep getting DLA.

Depending on when you were born, there are different rules for:

  • how to report a change
  • what happens if you report a change in your medical condition

If you were born before 9 April 1948

You should report changes to the DWP’s helpline.

DLA and Attendance Allowance helpline

Telephone: 0800 731 0122
Textphone: 0800 731 0317
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0122
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

If your medical condition changes

You should tell the DWP if:

  • your condition gets better or worse
  • the level of help or care you need changes

The DWP will assess you again to see how much DLA you should get – this is called a ‘reassessment’. Check how much DLA you should get on GOV.UK.

When you’re reassessed, you can’t usually:

  • get the mobility component or the lowest rate of the care component if you weren’t already getting them 
  • move between the higher and lower rates of the mobility component

You should tell the DWP about a change of circumstances as soon as possible. If you don’t tell the DWP that your condition has got worse you might miss out on extra money.

If you don’t tell the DWP that your condition has got better, you could get paid too much. If you’re paid too much you usually have to pay your benefits back to the DWP. This is called an overpayment – check how the DWP deal with overpayments.

If you were born on or after 9 April 1948

You should report changes of circumstances to the DLA helpline.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) Helpline

Telephone: 0800 121 4600 
Textphone: 0800 121 4523 
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 121 4600 
Monday to Friday, 8am to 7.30pm 

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

If your medical condition gets better

You should tell the DWP as soon as possible. The DWP will ask you to apply for PIP instead of DLA – check what to do when you’re asked to move to PIP.

If you don’t tell the DWP that your condition has got better, you could get paid too much and have to pay your benefits back to the DWP. This is called an overpayment – check how the DWP deal with overpayments.

If your medical condition gets worse

If you tell the DWP that your condition has changed, they will ask you to apply for PIP instead of DLA – check what to do when you’re asked to move to PIP.

If your condition has got worse, you might get more money when you’re assessed for PIP, but you might get less because the PIP rules are different. Contact your nearest Citizens Advice to work out if you should tell the DWP that your condition’s got worse.

If the DWP say you’ve had an overpayment of DLA

The DWP can only ask you to pay the money back if you:

  • gave wrong information when you first applied or after you started receiving DLA
  • didn’t report a change of circumstances which would have affected your DLA

You can check what you can do if the DWP say you’ve been overpaid.

Challenging a DLA decision

You can appeal against a DLA decision. This might include a decision that:

  • you can’t get DLA anymore
  • you can only get a lower rate than you think you should get
  • you’ve been overpaid

You can check how much DLA you should get on GOV.UK.

If the DWP have asked you to claim PIP instead of DLA

You can’t challenge the DWP’s decision that you need to claim PIP. If you’re assessed for PIP and you don’t agree with the result, you can challenge the PIP assessment decision.

If you think the DWP made the wrong decision, the first step is to ask them to look at your claim again – this is called a ‘mandatory reconsideration’.

If possible, make sure that the DWP get your request for mandatory reconsideration within 1 month of the date of the decision. You'll find the date at the top of your decision letter.

If you’re writing to the DWP and your letter might not reach them in time, you should call them and tell them.

If you've missed the 1 month deadline it's still worth sending your mandatory reconsideration. You should do this within 13 months of the decision. You'll need to give a good reason for missing the deadline - for example, because you'd spent some time in hospital.

The best way to ask for mandatory reconsideration is to use the CRMR1 mandatory reconsideration request form on GOV.UK. You can also write a letter to the DWP explaining why you disagree with their decision. The address you need will be on your DLA decision letter.

You can also call the DWP to ask for mandatory reconsideration. If you call, make sure to write everything down in case you need written proof later on. You should write a letter to the DWP summarising what you talked about over the phone.

Calling the DWP if you were born before 9 April 1948

You can call the DWP’s helpline to ask for a mandatory reconsideration.

DLA and Attendance Allowance helpline

Telephone: 0800 731 0122
Textphone: 0800 731 0317
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0122
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

Calling the DWP if you were born on or after 9 April 1948

You can call the DLA helpline to ask for a mandatory reconsideration.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) Helpline

Telephone: 0800 121 4600 
Textphone: 0800 121 4523 
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 121 4600 
Monday to Friday, 8am to 7.30pm 

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

Explain why you think the DWP’s decision is wrong

Look at your decision letter. It will say how the DWP have decided on your application. Make a note of the statements you disagree with and why.

Give facts, examples and medical evidence (if available) to support what you're saying. One way to be clear about what you disagree with is to use the same words they use in the decision.

Below is an example of what you might say in your letter.

Example

“Your letter says I’m not entitled to DLA because I “don’t need frequent attention throughout the day or night”. This is incorrect. I need frequent help washing, dressing and going up and down the stairs.”

Check what happens after your mandatory reconsideration

The DWP might call you if they need more information or they want to clarify something. If you’ve already told them you can’t use the phone, they should write to you.

If they don’t need more information, they’ll write and tell you whether they’ve changed their decision. The letter they send you is known as a mandatory reconsideration (MR) notice.

If the DWP change their decision so you get more DLA, they’ll pay you the extra money and backdate it to the date of the original decision.

You can appeal to an independent tribunal if you still don’t agree with the DWP’s decision in the MR notice. Your MR notice will include information about how to appeal. You’ll have 1 month from the date of your MR notice to do this.

If you've missed the 1 month deadline it's still worth sending your appeal. You should do this within 13 months of the date of the MR notice. You'll need to give a good reason for missing the deadline - for example, because you'd spent some time in hospital.

You can get help from your nearest Citizens Advice. Try to get in touch straight away as you might have to wait for an appointment.

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