Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA) are for people who have a disability and as a result need help with personal care (care component) or getting around (mobility component) or both.
DLA and AA provide a non-contributory, non-means tested, tax-free contribution towards the extra costs of severely disabled people. Payment is not affected by income or whether a person is in employment.
To qualify for DLA, the person must have needed help for three months (qualifying period) and will be expected to continue to need help for at least a further six months (prospective test).
To qualify for AA, the person must have needed help for six months (qualifying period).
Non-medical decision makers make decisions about entitlement taking all the evidence into account. This may include:
- information in the claim pack
- the statement at the end of the claim pack
- reports from healthcare professionals responsible for the clinical care of the person
- in some cases, a medical examination report from a healthcare professional working for Atos Healthcare.
Disability Living Allowance
DLA is for people who claim before age 65 and has both care and mobility components.
The care component is payable at one of three rates (highest, middle or lowest) for those who need help with personal care.
For people who need attention with bodily functions, for example eating, washing, dressing and using the toilet for a significant portion of the day
Or unable to prepare a cooked main meal if over age 16.
For people who need:
- frequent attention with bodily functions throughout the day, or
- continual supervision throughout the day to avoid substantial danger to themselves or others, or
- prolonged and repeated attention at night in connection with bodily functions, or
- someone to be awake during the night for a prolonged period or at frequent intervals to avoid substantial danger to themselves or others.
For people who satisfy the middle rate criteria for both day and night.
The mobility component is paid at two rates – lower and higher.
For people who are able to walk but need someone with them to provide guidance and supervision for most of the time when they are outdoors on unfamiliar routes.
For people who are unable to or virtually unable to walk.
Attendance Allowance is for people who claim after reaching 65 and only has a care component. It is paid at two rates:
Lower rate – equivalent to middle rate DLA
Higher rate – equivalent to higher rate DLA
Special rules apply to people who are not expected to live longer than six months due to a terminal illness. If a person qualifies for benefit under the special rules provision, they will qualify for personal care automatically even if no help is needed. They do not need to satisfy the three month qualifying period or six month prospective test.
Children under 16 may get DLA. The care component is usually payable from 3 months, but the mobility component can only be paid from the age of three. In order to qualify for benefit the child’s needs must be substantially more than a non-disabled child of the same age.
The role of healthcare professionals
Healthcare professionals responsible for the clinical care of the person may be asked to complete the statement at the end of the claim form by their patient. If the decision maker is not able to make a decision about entitlement to benefit without further evidence, they may ask the healthcare professional to complete a medical report based on the medical records and their knowledge of the patient. If the person is claiming under the special rules, they or their representative may ask the healthcare professional to complete form DS1500.
- Disability Living Allowance – information for patients (GOV.UK)
- Attendance Allowance – information for patients (GOV.UK)
- DLA/AA factual reports – one page desk aid – (60KB)
- DLA/AA factual reports – 6 page version (48KB)
- A to Z of medical conditions – evidence-based guidance for DLA/AA decision makers
Background information on the more common medical conditions in DLA/AA claims, their treatment, the likely disabling effects together with the likely impact on ability to self care and get around.