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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 the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). It also has information about how to apply for Disability Living Allowance if you live in Northern Ireland.

On this page:

About Disability Living Allowance

This is a benefit for people who have a physical or mental disability and need help to care for themselves, help with getting around, or someone to supervise them to remain safe.

Am I eligible for Disability Living Allowance?

You may be able to claim DLA if you are under 16 and need help with things like:

  • getting in and out of bed
  • bathing
  • going to the toilet
  • dressing
  • eating
  • dealing with medication.

If you're over 16 years old, you won't be able to make a new claim for DLA. But you might be eligible for other benefits, like Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance

For more information on whether you are eligible to claim DLA, visit the GOV.UK website.

How much could I get? 

How much you get depends on how your disability or health condition affects you. Read more about DLA rates on the GOV.UK website.

How do I make a claim?

You can use a DLA claim form to apply for Disability Living Allowance. Visit the GOV.UK website to find out how to claim.

People already getting Disability Living Allowance

If you get DLA and were aged 65 or over on 8 April 2013 (or 20 June 2016 in Northern Ireland), you can stay on DLA and will be able to renew it when necessary.

Everyone who’s on Disability Living Allowance and was aged under 65 on 8 April 2013 (or 20 June 2016 in Northern Ireland) will eventually be moved on to Personal Independence Payment . The date this happens for you will depend on why your claim has to change. Your claim will need to change:

  • when you renew it (on the expiry of your existing fixed term award)
  • if you need to amend it because of a change of circumstances, for example, because your health is worse or your illness has become terminal
  • because you turn 16
  • if you’re invited to claim Personal Independence Payment by the Disability Carer’s Service (DCS) in Northern Ireland, or the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in England, Wales, or Scotland.

Personal Independence Payment will eventually be introduced for all existing Disability Living Allowanceclaimants throughout the UK who were under 65 on or before the 8 April 2016. 

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If you’re already getting Disability Living Allowance and become terminally ill

If you’re getting Disability Living Allowance at the lower or middle rate and your illness becomes terminal, it counts as a change in circumstances. It may mean you qualify for the benefit at the highest rate instead.

You’ll need to make a claim for Personal Independence Payment under the special rules. It’s a good idea to claim as soon as possible because new claims for Personal Independence Payment cannot be backdated.

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How to claim Personal Independence Payment if you’re already getting Disability Living Allowance

Being invited to claim Personal Independence Payment

The DWP or DCS will send you a letter telling you to start claiming Personal Independence Payment. You have four weeks to respond. 

You won’t be able to stay on Disability Living Allowance, but as long as you claim Personal Independence Payment by the date given on the letter, your Disability Living Allowance continues while you’re assessed for Personal Independence Payment. You may be able to get more time for claiming, so if you do need more time, contact the DWP or DCS  and explain why.

Second invitation to claim Personal Independence Payment

If you don’t claim Personal Independence Payment after the first invitation from the DWP or DCS, you’ll be sent another letter asking you to claim this benefit. If you don’t claim by the date given on the second letter, your Disability Living Allowance will be suspended. 

The DWP or DCS must write to tell you that your Disability Living Allowance has been suspended and give you another four weeks to claim Personal Independence Payment. As long as you claim Personal Independence Payment by the date given, your Disability Living Allowance payments will start again. If you don’t claim Personal Independence Payment during this period, your Disability Living Allowance entitlement ends. You can still make a claim for Personal Independence Payment after this, but you won’t be paid Disability Living Allowance in the meantime.

Getting the decision

When you get a decision about your claim for Personal Independence Payment, your entitlement to Disability Living Allowance ends four weeks after the next Disability Living Allowance pay day. You’re Personal Independence Payment entitlement will start to be paid after this. Even if your Personal Independence Payment claim has been turned down, your Disability Living Allowance entitlement still runs on for four weeks.

If your claim is rejected

If you’re refused Personal Independence Payment or you disagree with the DWP or DCS’s written decision, you have one month to ask for the decision to be reconsidered. This is called mandatory reconsideration. If you’re not happy with the outcome of the reconsideration, you have another month to appeal.

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Useful links

Advice NI  
Citizens Advice  
Debt Action NI  
nidirect   – Disability Living Allowance in Northern Ireland

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