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How to claim DLA for your child

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

You can claim DLA to help with the extra costs you have because of your child's health condition or disability. The money can be spent on anything.

Your child has to be under 16 for you to get DLA. If they’re 16 or older you should claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

You can apply through a fast-track process if your child has been diagnosed as terminally ill - read our guide.

Check if your child is eligible

You can get DLA if your child:

  • needs more care, attention or supervision than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability or health condition, or
  • has difficulty walking or getting around outdoors in unfamiliar places

DLA isn't means tested, so it doesn't matter how much you earn or how much savings you have.

If you're not sure if you're eligible you can read more about eligibility for DLA for children.

Get an application form

You can phone for a form or download one. 

It's best to phone for a form 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
Castle Court
Royal Avenue

Tel: 0800 587 0912
Textphone: 028 9031 1092
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (closed bank holidays)

You can download a form and guidance notes from nidirect.

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

Keeping a diary

It’s a good idea to keep a diary of your child’s condition for a week before you fill in the form - particularly if your child has bad days and good days. Write down your child’s difficulties, the help or care you gave and how long it took.

Depending on your child's condition, you might want to keep a diary for longer than a week - for example if you child's condition usually affects them 1 week a month. 

We've made a DLA diary that you can print out and use [ 99 kb] - it covers 7 days and gives you tips on what to write down. 

The diary will help you when you answer questions on the form. You can also send it with the form as evidence.

Fill in the application form

There are specific things that the DWP will be looking for when they make a decision on your claim - so it's important that you fill in the form as best you can.

We recommend that you read our advice on filling in the DLA form to have the best chance of success.

Send your application form

It’s a good idea to make a copy of your filled-in application form and any other documents you send. This will be useful in case you need to refer to it later, for example if you need to reapply for DLA after a few years.

The address you need will be on the form.

If you’re waiting for something like a letter from your doctor, you should still send the form before the 6 week deadline. Include a letter saying you’ll send more evidence and give them an approximate date for when you’ll send it. If you send the form late you’ll only get paid from when the Disability and Carers Service receives it

After you’ve sent your form

You’ll get a letter within 2 weeks saying they’ve received your claim. Contact the Disability and Carers Service if you haven’t received a letter within 6 weeks.

You’ll normally get a ‘decision letter’ within 7 weeks - this letter will tell you whether or not you’ll get DLA. It will also tell you how much you’ll get and how long your DLA will last for.

If your claim is successful, the decision letter will tell you how much you’ll get and for how long. If your claim isn’t successful, the decision letter will outline the reasons.

If you’ve been successful but you’re not sure you’ve been given the correct rate, it’s a good idea to contact your nearest Citizens Advice or phone Contact a Family.

Contact helpline
Telephone: 0808 808 3555

Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5pm
Calls are free from all phones in the UK.

If you’re not given DLA or you think you should be getting more, you can appeal the decision.

When your child turns 16 - moving to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP is a disability benefit similar to DLA, but for people 16 and over.

You’ll get a letter a few months before your child’s 16th birthday telling you about switching from DLA to PIP.

You’ll need to fill in a new form and your child will probably need to go for an assessment.

Read our advice on moving from DLA to PIP to help you get ready.

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. They can give you support and answer any questions you have about eligibility or claiming.

Contact helpline
Telephone: 0808 808 3555

Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5pm
Calls are free from all phones in the UK.


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