Receiving Child Disability Living Allowance (DLA) can be the gateway to more help and financial support

News - 09 August 2023

This is an article from the Citizens Advice Wirral Cost-of-living newsletter:

Child Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is the main benefit for disabled children in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

It is not taxable, and it doesn’t count as income for other benefits. It’s paid to help families offset the extra costs in bringing up a child with a disability.

It’s very common for a parent to think they won’t be able to get DLA for their child when they can. DLA isn’t just for children who are physically disabled. It can be awarded for a wide range of medical conditions including behavioural and mental health conditions as well as learning disabilities and developmental delay. You might be able to claim even if you wouldn’t describe your child as ‘disabled’.

Did you know if you get DLA for your child, you might be able to get other benefits, increase benefits that you already receive, and it could also let you access help with things like travel, or childcare? You’ll need your Child DLA decision letter before you can apply for this extra help – you’ll be sent this when you get a decision on your Child DLA claim.

7 good reasons to apply for Child DLA 

  1. You can get between £26.90 and £172.75 per week in Child DLA to help look after a child who has a disability or health condition.
  2. Child DLA can act as a gateway for other types of financial help. You may be able to get higher payments of the following benefits: Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Universal Credit. Check who pays your benefits and contact them (their contact details should be on any letters they send you). Tell them you’re getting Child DLA and ask them what other help this entitles you to (it is a good idea to have your Child DLA decision letter handy when you call). It’s best to do this as soon as possible after getting a Child DLA decision.
  3. You will be exempt from the household benefits cap if you have a child under 18 living with you who receives Child DLA.
  4. Child DLA may give you access to benefits as your child’s carer. You might be able to claim Carer’s Allowance and may also be able to have the Carer’s Element, Carer’s Premium or Carer’s Addition added to other existing benefits that you receive.
  5. If you get the higher rate mobility component of Child DLA you can get a Blue Badge and you can get exemption from road tax for a car that is substantially used to meet your disabled child’s needs. You may also have the option of using some or all of the mobility component to lease a car, mobility scooter or powered wheelchair.
  6. If you are affected by the spare bedroom tax and you receive the middle or highest rate care component of Child DLA, and the child you receive Child DLA for is not reasonably able to share a room because of their disability, then you will be allowed an additional bedroom for them.
  7. If you are a working family who uses tax free child care you will be eligible for more help if your child has DLA. You can access 15 hours of free childcare from the age of 2, rather than 3, if your child is on DLA.

If you need help understanding if you can claim DLA for your child, with applying for Child DLA, accessing any extra help and benefits that Child DLA acts as a gateway to, or if you have any queries about Child DLA, then you can contact Citizen’s Advice or you can also talk to a specialist at the ‘Contact’ charity – who are experts in DLA for children.