Does my son qualify for DLA?

Q. My son is 8 years old and has been diagnosed with ADHD, I have been told by friends that I should apply for DLA, would he qualify for this?

A. It’s very common for a parent to think they won’t be able to get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for their child when they can.

DLA isn’t just for children with physical disabilities - it’s also for 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’.

You can get DLA if your child:

- has difficulty walking or getting around outdoors in unfamiliar places, there are age restrictions for this, or

- needs more care, attention or supervision than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability or health condition

Your child needs to be under 16 for you to claim DLA - if they’re 16 or over you’ll have to claim Personal Independence Payment. 

To qualify your child must have had the disability or condition for at least 3 months, and you must expect it to last for at least 6 more to apply. You don’t need a formal diagnosis from a doctor to apply, but this can help. The only exception is if your child is terminally ill and not expected to live more than 6 months, as you can apply right away regardless of how long your child has had difficulties for.

How much you’ll get

You can get between £21.80 and £137.05 a week in Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to help look after a child who has a disability or health condition. 

It doesn’t matter how much you earn or how much money you might have in savings - DLA isn’t means tested.

Any other benefits you might be getting won’t be affected. In fact, getting DLA could mean that:

- you can get other benefits, or

- you can get a higher rate of benefits than currently

The amount of DLA you get is made up of 2 parts called ‘components’ - the ‘care component’ and the ‘mobility component’. Each component is paid at different rates.

You might get one or both components, depending on the type of care your child needs. You’ll only have to do one application.

The care component is based on how much care and supervision your child needs because of their condition. Whereas the mobility component is based on your child’s ability to walk and how hard they find it to get around places that they don’t know well. Your child can only be assessed for the low rate mobility when they are over 5 years old and the high rate when they are over 3. However there are no age restrictions for the care component.

If you feel that your son may qualify for DLA, please contact us so an advisor can go through the criteria in more detail. Get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice at www.citizensadvice.co.uk or for further information go to www.citizensadvice.org.uk/nireland