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How to claim DLA for your child

This advice applies to Scotland

You can claim DLA to help with the extra costs you have because of your child's health condition or disability. 

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 either phone for an application form or download one. 

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 DWP receives the form.

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, 9am to 5pm 

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

You can download an application form from GOV.UK

Keep 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 can really help you when you fill in the form. You can also send it with the form as evidence if you like. 

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.

Send the form to:

Disability Benefit Centre 4
Post Handling Site B
WV99 1BY

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 DWP receives it.

What happens next

You’ll get a letter from DWP within 2 weeks saying they’ve received your claim (or you might get a text message instead). Contact the DLA helpline if you haven’t received a letter after 2 weeks.

You’ll normally get a ‘decision letter’ within 3 months.

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 the Contact a Family helpline on 0808 808 3555 to discuss it.

When your child turns 18 - moving to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP is a disability benefit similar to DLA but for people aged 16 or over.

DLA for children in Scotland

During 2020, responsibility for DLA for children in Scotland is transferring from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to Social Security Scotland.

New rules mean that young people living in Scotland who receive DLA will continue to get it up to the age of 18, as long as they're still eligible. This means that they won't have to move to PIP when they're 16, although they can choose to move if they want.

This change affects young people living in Scotland who turn 16 on or after 1 September 2020. The DWP will write to parents or carers of children who are affected by the change.

Young people who turn 16 before 1 September 2020 will still need to apply for PIP and should already have received a letter from the DWP about this.

If your child moves to Scotland from England or Wales

In England and Wales, you can get DLA for your child until they are 16. The DWP will write to you before they are 16 to tell you about applying for PIP instead.

If your child gets DLA, turns 16 on or after 1 September 2020 and has moved to Scotland, the DWP will write to them to let them know that they can choose to:

  • continue getting DLA until they are 18 or
  • apply for PIP

If they've already applied for PIP but haven't yet had a decision, they can withdraw their claim and choose to get DLA until they are 18 instead.

Coronavirus - if you’re waiting for a medical assessment

The government has postponed all face-to-face medical assessments at the moment.

Your child will keep getting DLA until they have a medical assessment. The amount they get won’t change.

If you’ve already got a date for a medical assessment

The DWP will try to assess your child by:

  • looking at their application form and medical evidence
  • talking to you over the phone

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

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