The rates for DLA from April 2013 to March 2014 are:-
Highest rate - £79.15
Middle rate - £53
Lowest rate - £21
Higher rate - £55.25
Lower rate - £21
Who qualifies for DLA?
To qualify for DLA you must:
- because of disability or ill health, need help with your personal care or someone to check that you are ok and/or have difficulties with mobility when walking outside, and
- have had the disability or been in ill health for at least three months and be likely to have the disability or be in ill health for a further six months (unless you have a terminal illness), and
- have no immigration conditions attached to your stay in the UK (subject to some exceptions), and
- satisfy the residence and presence tests.
Residence and presence tests
From 8 April 2013 to satisfy the residence and presence tests you must:
- have been present in Great Britain for 104 weeks out of the 156 weeks before claiming (2 out of the last 3 years), and
- be habitually resident.
Some people can be treated as having been in the UK whilst abroad, eg service personnel.
If you are terminally ill you only have to be present in the UK, you do not need to have been present in Great Britain for 104 weeks out of the 156 weeks before claiming.
The habitual residence test is a test to see if you normally live in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Republic of Ireland or the Isle of Man. The test will be applied if you have been living abroad. There is no legal definition of ‘habitual residence’. Relevant factors are where you normally live, where you expect to live in future, your reasons for coming to this country, the length of time spent abroad before you came here, and any ties you still have with the country where you have come from.
If you need more information about the habitual residence test contact the Carers UK Adviceline
Care and Mobility components
There are two parts or ‘components’ of DLA, a care component and a mobility component. The care component can be paid if you need help with your personal care or someone to check that you are ok. The mobility component can be paid if you have problems with mobility when walking outside.
The care component is paid at one of three rates: the lowest rate, middle rate, and highest rate. The more help you need the higher the rate of DLA care component you will be paid.
For the lowest rate you must:
- be unable to prepare a cooked main meal. You have to be 16 or over to qualify on this basis. The meal should be a labour intensive, reasonable, main daily meal for one person. It should be the sort of main meal that you would normally eat. Activities involved in preparing the meal might include: deciding it is time to cook; planning the meal; peeling and chopping vegetables; lifting saucepans; moving around a kitchen safely; timing the cooking; lifting food out of an oven,
- need help with personal care for about an hour a day. The personal care should be provided for about an hour a day. It can be shorter periods that add up to an hour, eg four periods of 15 minutes each.
Middle and highest rate
For the middle rate you must satisfy a daytime test or a night-time test (see page 3). For this benefit, night usually starts just after your household has gone to bed and ends just before your household gets up in the morning. Special rules apply for some kidney patients undergoing renal dialysis at least 2 times a week.
For the highest rate you must satisfy a daytime and a night-time test. Alternatively, you will get the highest rate if you are terminally ill. A terminal illness is one that may result in death in the next six months.
To satisfy a daytime test you must need:
- frequent (at least three times) help with personal care throughout the day; or
- someone to check on you throughout the day to make sure that you are safe.
To satisfy a night-time test you must need:
- help with personal care at least twice a night, or once a night for at least 20 minutes; or
- someone to check on you at least twice a night, or once a night for at least 20 minutes, to make sure that you are safe.
To satisfy the tests you have to show that it is reasonable for you to need personal care or for someone to check on you. You do not have to actually receive help with personal care or actually have someone who checks on you.
If no-one is helping you with personal care, you may be accepted as needing help if you have some difficulty coping with your personal care. And if no-one is checking on you, you may still be accepted as needing this if you or another person may be placed in danger without it.
Children under 16 must need more help with personal care or checking than a child of the same age who has no disability.
What do they mean by "Help with personal care"?
Personal care needs include help with things like:
- eating and drinking
- seeing (ie you need someone to see for you)
- using the toilet
- getting into and out of a chair
- bathing and washing
- dressing and undressing
- help with medication and treatment
- getting in and out of bed and sleeping.
The reason why you need help could be varied such as a physical disability or illness, a sensory impairment, a learning disability, or a mental health condition. The help must usually be given in your presence.
Here are some examples of the reasons you may need help and the type of help you may need:
- You have a spinal disability which makes core movement difficult. You need somebody to assist you with many daily activities such as getting in and out of bed, washing and dressing, and getting in and out of chairs.
- You are profoundly deaf and British Sign Language is your first language. You therefore need an interpreter when communicating with hearing people, to interpret spoken announcements, and perhaps also to interpret written English.
- You have a mental health problem and you need prompting and encouragement to look after yourself and do things such as take your medication, eat, wash and dress.
- You are blind and you need someone to assist in many situations such as selecting clothes to wear, using cooking appliances safely and preparing food.
- You have a learning disability and need help with many activities including managing money, writing letters and looking after your health and hygiene.
What do they mean by "Someone to check on you"?
You must need someone to check on you regularly during the day. The checks must be to avoid a “substantial danger” to yourself or others that results from your disability. You may need such checks if you
- have memory loss
- are in danger of falling
- have poor awareness of potential dangers
- have serious behavioural problems
- lose consciousness or have seizures.
Substantial danger may include situations such as
- leaving the gas on
- self harm
- violence towards others or serious risk to your health should you be left unsupervised.
The potentially dangerous situation does not have to happen frequently, but you must need frequent checks to reduce the chance of harm.
The mobility component is paid if you have difficulties walking outside. It is paid at one of two rates. The higher rate can be claimed from the age of three and the lower rate from the age of five.
The lower rate is paid if you are able to walk, but need guidance or supervision from another person when walking out of doors on an unfamiliar route. Help must be needed most of the time.
Children under 16 must need more guidance and supervision than a child of the same age with no disability. Guidance is directing you along the route; either physically or through verbal or other signals. For example, you may need guidance if you are blind, or you use British Sign Language, or you cannot remember directions or you are easily confused.
Supervision is someone watching over or monitoring you in case they need to intervene, eg you may suffer panic attacks, have poor road sense or be unsteady on your feet.
For the higher rate you must have a physical disability that means:
- you are unable to walk; or
- you are virtually unable to walk; or
- you cannot walk without the effort required endangering your life or seriously affecting your health; or
- you have had both legs amputated at or above the ankle, or you were born without legs or feet; regardless of whether you wear artificial limbs or
- you are both deaf and blind (80% deaf and 100% blind); or
- you are assessed as 'severely visually impaired'. This is a new category that applies from 11 April 2011.
Note: The assessment of whether you are virtually unable to walk looks at your disability’s combined effects on the distance, speed, manner and length of time for which you can walk. Any walking you do in “severe discomfort” is ignored. Severe discomfort may include any pain, nausea, breathlessness or dizziness brought on by walking. Your walking is assessed using any walking aid that you usually use (eg a stick).
Alternatively, you can qualify for the higher rate of the mobility component if you have a severe learning disability and:
- you qualify for the highest rate of the care component; and
- your behaviour is extreme and regularly requires another person to intervene to prevent you harming yourself, another person or
- property; and
- your learning disability severely affects your intelligence and your social functioning.