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Claiming DLA for a terminally ill child

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

There’s a quicker application process for parents of children who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and aren’t expected to live more than 6 months. 

You can get between £83.10 and £141.10 a week, depending on the care your child needs.

You should apply straight away - it doesn’t matter how much you earn or how long your child has been sick for. Once you apply your application will be decided on within about 2 weeks.

Your child must be under 16 for you to get DLA. If they’re 16 or over you’ll need to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead (PIP also has a fast-track application process).

There’s separate guidance for applying for a child under 16 who doesn’t have a terminal illness.

How much you can get

You can get between £83.10 and £141.10 a week.

DLA is made up of 2 different parts - the ‘care component’ and the ‘mobility component’.

You’ll get the highest rate of the care component, which is £83.10 a week.

You'll either get £22.00 or £58.00 a week for the 'mobility component' - this will depend on your child's ability to get around.

Get an application form

You can get an application form by phone, by download or by picking one up.
It's best to phone because your payments will be backdated to the date you phoned. If you download an application form, you'll only be paid from the date that the Disability and Carers Service receive the form.

Disability and Carers Service
Telephone: 0300 123 3356
Textphone: 028 9031 1092
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (closed bank holidays)

You can download an application form from nidirect.

You can also pick up a form from your local Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office.

Ask your doctor for a ‘DS1500 medical condition report’

Ask your doctor, specialist or consultant for a ‘DS1500 medical condition report’. This is a form describing your child’s conditions and treatments - you’ll need it to send with your DLA application. You won’t have to pay for this.

You can ask your doctor to send this directly to the Disability and Carers service:

Disability and Carers Service
Castle Court
Royal Avenue

Fill in the application form

You won’t have to fill in the full application form if your child has a terminal illness. See question 23 on the form - it will tell you what you do and don’t have to fill in.

If your child has difficulty walking or getting around outdoors in unfamiliar places, make sure you fill in the section on ‘mobility’ (questions 25-31). You can get a higher amount of DLA if this is the case, but your child needs to be at least 3.

The form can seem confusing - you can read our guide on filling in the DLA form if you need help.

Send the application form and DS1500 

You should send the form back as soon as possible. If the 6 week time limit is approaching and you don’t have a DS1500 report from your doctor, you should send the form anyway. Include a letter saying you’ll send the DS1500 at a later date - this way you’ll still get back paid from the date you phoned for the form.

It’s a good idea to make a copy of the filled-in form and the DS1500. You could take digital photos if you don’t have a copier or scanner. This could be useful in case you need to refer to it later or it gets lost.

Send the form and the DS1500 to:

Disability and Carers Service
Castle Court
Royal Avenue

You can also hand it in at your local Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office

See what other benefits you could get

Claiming DLA can also increase your eligibility for other help and benefits. Read about the other benefits you might be able to claim

What happens after you’ve applied 

You’ll usually get a ‘decision letter’ within 2 weeks - this will tell you whether or not you’ll get DLA. Contact the Disability and Carers Service if you haven’t received a letter within 2 weeks.

If your claim is successful, the decision letter will tell you how much you’ll get and for how long. If you phoned for the claim form you’ll be back-paid from the date you called.

You can appeal the decision if you’re unhappy with it or you don’t think you’ve been given the correct rate (for example if you’ve been given a lower rate and you think you should get a higher rate).

If you’re not sure you’ve been given the correct rate or you’re thinking of appealing, it’s a good idea to contact your nearest Citizens Advice or phone the Contact a Family helpline on 0808 808 3555 to discuss it.

Get help and support

You can talk to an adviser at your nearest Citizens Advice or call the free helpline provided by the ‘Contact a Family’ charity if you feel like you need help. They’re specialists who can give you support and answer questions you have about eligibility, claiming, residence requirements or anything else.

Contact a Family helpline
Telephone: 0808 808 3555
Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5pm
Calls are free from all phones in the UK.

You can also contact the charity Disability Action for help and support with DLA.

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