Could you be entitled to Disability Living Allowance?
One aspect the Advocacy Service provides is support completing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claim forms. Completing a DLA form can be a very difficult experience for individuals and families because the questions ask families to focus in detail on what they or their child cannot do. Completing DLA forms can also be very time-consuming.
This information sheet covers the general principles and requirements for making a successful claim. It provides details on DLA, how it is assessed and explains the different components that need satisfying in order to make a successful claim. It provides an understanding of the DLA and the process.
What is Disability Living Allowance?
DLA is a tax-free and non means-tested social security benefit available to children with disabilities who are under the age of 16. It has two parts: a care component and a mobility component.
There are disability criteria which have to be met in order to qualify for DLA. The extent of a person’s disabilities and how they affect them will determine the rate of benefit that they will be awarded. The decision-maker at the benefits agency will look at the information in the claim form to get a picture of how a person’s disabilities affect them. They will also look at any other evidence given. This may come from their GP, a carer or relative.
What are the principles behind the Disability Living Allowance?
The principle behind the benefit is that the additional costs arising from disability should be met by society as a whole and not by the individual with a disability or their family. Individuals up to the age of 16 years old can apply for this benefit.
Each person is affected differently and it is the effect the disease has on the individual that is assessed. This is why one person receives one level of benefit and another person with the same MPS or related disease receives another level.
How can I claim Disability Living Allowance?
A claim for DLA is made on the official forms. Families can request a form from the Department of Work and Pensions, or they can download the form to complete from the below website.
Alternatively, the Disability Living Allowance helpline can be contacted on:
Telephone: 0800 121 4600 Textphone: 0800 121 4523 Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 121 4600 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
For families living in Northern Ireland, the contact details are:
Phone: 0800 587 0912 Textphone number: 0800 012 1574 (for deaf or hard of hearing users and customers with speech difficulties)
What about renewal claims?
The Benefits Agency will usually send a renewal form about six months before the award expires. Most awards of DLA are for a limited period of time and can vary greatly in length.
A new claim will be dealt with by the local Disability Benefits Centre. Firstly, the decision-maker will decide whether an individual satisfies the non-disability tests (about their age and residency in Great Britain etc). The decision-maker will take into consideration all the information in the claim form to get a picture of how the disabilities affect the person. Then they will decide whether they need any further information about the claim. The decision-maker may choose to contact the individual’s doctor or specialist metabolic consultant. Finally the decision-maker will decide whether or not an individual is entitled to benefit, at what rate and for how long.
It is important that claimants consider which doctors are named on the form as they may be approached. The GP’s details are always needed but it may be that they have little contact with the individual or do not know enough about the condition to complete the form accurately. This is particularly the case with rare diseases. This makes it very important to include the most appropriate hospital doctor on the form, e.g.
doctors who are able to fully and accurately describe the effects of the disease on the individual.