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Disability Living Allowance

You can no longer make a new claim for Disability Living Allowance unless you’re under 16 years old. This page explains what will happen if you’re already getting Disability Living Allowance and changing to Personal Independence Payment (PIP). 

On this page:

What is Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?

This is a tax-free benefit for people who have a physical or mental disability and need help to care for themselves or someone to supervise them to remain safe. It’s also for people who need help getting around.

Applying for Disability Living Allowance for a child

You can make a new claim for Disability Living Allowance for a child who is under 16 and has difficulty walking or needs much more looking after than other children.

You can read more from:

What benefits can I apply for if I’m an adult?

If you don’t qualify for Disability Living Allowance because of your age, you might be able to claim:

You can find out more about different benefits on our page What benefits can I claim? 

What happens if I’m an adult and I’m already getting DLA?

If you’re already getting DLA, this is gradually being replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

If you were born on or after 8 April 1948, you may be asked to claim PIP instead.  You will not have the choice to stay on DLA. You’ll be sent a letter explaining this change. Unless your circumstances change, you don’t need to do anything until you get this letter. 

If you were born before 8 April 1948, you’ll continue to get DLA if you’re eligible for it and will be able to renew it when necessary.

Children can continue to claim DLA until they reach the age of 16.

What will happen if I’m invited to claim PIP?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or the Disability and Carers Service (DCS) in Northern Ireland will send you a letter inviting you to claim PIP. You have 28 days to start your claim.

You won’t be able to stay on DLA, but as long as you claim PIP by the date given on the letter, your DLA will continue while you’re assessed for PIP.

What will happen after I get the decision about whether or not I can claim PIP?

When you get a decision about your claim for PIP, your entitlement to DLA ends four weeks after the next DLA pay day (unless your claim is accepted under the special rules, see below). Your PIP entitlement will start straight after this. Even if your PIP claim has been turned down, your DLA entitlement still runs on for four weeks.

If you get DLA and must now claim PIP under the special rules because you are terminally ill, you can qualify for a higher rate of benefit from the day after the DLA payment period has ended or from the first Tuesday after the PIP decision (whichever is earlier).

What if I’m already getting DLA and I’m diagnosed with a terminal illness?

If you’re getting the DLA care component at the lowest or middle rate (or just get the DLA mobility component) and your illness becomes terminal, it counts as a change in circumstances. If you call the office dealing with your claim and let them know, your claim will be re-assessed for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), under the special rules.

Reporting a change in your circumstances

If there is a change in your circumstances or you gave incorrect information by mistake, you need to report it.

Find out more about reporting a change in circumstances at GOV.UK  or nidirect   if you live in Northern Ireland. 

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External websites

nidirect – Disability Living Allowance in Northern Ireland

About this information

Marie Curie's Information and Support team has produced this information with help from:

  • Director of Corporate Services, Marie Curie
  • Disability Rights UK
  • Our Readers Panel volunteers.

This information is not intended to replace any advice from health or social care professionals. We suggest that you consult with a qualified professional about your individual circumstances. Read more about how our information is created and how it's used.

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