Usually, to qualify for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children the child must:
- be under 16 - anyone over 16 must apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- need extra looking after or have walking difﬁculties
- be in England, Wales, a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland when you claim - there are some exceptions, such as family members of the Armed Forces
- have lived in Great Britain for at least 6 of the last 12 months, if over 3 years old
- be habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands
- not be subject to immigration control
There are some exceptions to these conditions if the child is living in or coming from an EEA country or Switzerland.
The rules are different in Northern Ireland.
If your child currently lives in Scotland, you need to apply for Child Disability Payment instead.
You can claim DLA for children if you’re in or out of work.
If you’re not a British citizen
If you and your child are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you will usually also need settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to claim DLA for your child.
The deadline to apply to the scheme was 30 June 2021 for most people, but you might still be able to apply. Check if you can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Children under 3
A child under 6 months must have lived in Great Britain for at least 13 weeks.
A child aged between 6 months and 3 years must have lived in Great Britain for at least 26 of the last 156 weeks.
The rules on residence do not normally apply if a medical professional has said the child might have 6 months or less to live.
The child’s disability or health condition
The child’s disability or health condition must mean at least one of the following apply:
- they need much more looking after than a child of the same age who does not have a disability
- they have difficulty getting about
They must have had these difficulties for at least 3 months and expect them to last for at least 6 months.
If a medical professional has said they might have 6 months or less to live, they do not need to have had these difficulties for 3 months.
The rate the child gets depends on the level of looking after they need, for example:
- lowest rate - help for some of the day
- middle rate - frequent help or constant supervision during the day, supervision at night or someone to help while they’re on dialysis
- highest rate - help or supervision throughout both day and night, or a medical professional has said they might have 6 months or less to live
The rate the child gets depends on the level of help they need getting about, for example:
- lowest rate - they can walk but need help and or supervision when outdoors
- highest rate - they cannot walk, can only walk a short distance without severe discomfort, could become very ill if they try to walk or they’re blind or severely sight impaired
There are also age limits to receiving the mobility component:
- lowest rate - the child must be 5 years or over
- highest rate - the child must be 3 years or over
If your child is under these ages and you claim DLA for them, you should be sent a claim pack 6 months before they turn 3 and 6 months before they turn 5. You can then apply for the mobility component if you think they’re eligible for it.
If you have not received any claim packs and you think your child may be entitled to the mobility component, contact the Disability Service Centre.