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How to apply for Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

A step-by-step digital guide to take you through the DLA application process.

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How to claim Disability Living Allowance

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To ask for Disability Living Allowance you need to get an application form .

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You can get a DLA application form from:

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  • by contacting the Disability Living Allowance Helpline by phoning: 0800 121 4600.
    - Textphone: 0800 121 4523
    - Relay UK: 18001 then 0800 121 4600


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This page tells you what you need to do to apply for DLA...

Step 1: Check if you are eligible for Disability Living Allowance

To get DLA for children in England and Wales the child must:

  • be under 16
  • have a health condition or disability
  • have needed extra help, or found it difficult to move around for at least three months, and you think their difficulties will last for at least another six months. 

Some adults still get DLA although new DLA claims for people aged 16 or over are no longer supported. They should look at claiming Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or Attendance Allowance instead.

There are differences to DLA if you live in other parts of the UK. For information visit:

Step 2: Make sure you have the right information to hand

You will need to know the child's:

  • full name, address and telephone number
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number if they have one
  • nationality (eg: English)
  • passport number if they have one
  • dates and addresses when they lived outside either England or Wales
  • dates when they went abroad over the last 3 years
  • dates and addresses when they were in a hospital or residential school
  • dates of any treatment or tests
  • health professional's full name
  • current medication list

You will also need to provide your bank or building society account number and sort code.

Step 3: Get someone to help you with the form if you want

You can ask a relative, friend or someone at an advice centre to help you fill out the DLA application form but you must sign the form yourself, if you can.

If you would like braille, British Sign Language, email, a hearing loop, translations, large print, audio or something else to help you complete the application form please call the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on  0800 121 4600 or textphone 0800 121 4523 to tell them what you need.

Step 4: Fill in the DLA form

It is a good idea to take your time to complete the DLA form but there is a deadline for it to be with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Visit the Scope website for details about the deadline.

When completing the form you should:

  • Use black ink.
  • Send copies of any supporting information with your form - do not send any original documents.
  • Read the questions carefully - not all questions will apply to the child.
  • Take a copy or pictures of the completed form, if you can, before you send it to the DWP.

The DWP have created a help guide which, from page 8, helps explain the more complex questions on the Disability Living Allowance application form.

Go to the help guide

Once you have completed the application form, send it to: Freepost DWP DLA Child

You do not need to add a postcode or a stamp.

If you received a paper form from the DWP you can use the envelope, which came with the application form, to return it in.

Step 5: Getting your DLA decision

After you’ve applied, you’ll get a letter from the DWP within 3 weeks that explains how long it will take them to make a decision about your claim.

To reach their decision they may contact your child's health professionals or other organisations for more information.

If your claim is successful, DLA will usually be paid every 4 weeks on a Tuesday.

If your payment date falls on a bank holiday, you will usually be paid before the bank holiday. After that you’ll continue to get paid as normal.

Any benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into your bank, building society or credit union account.

Step 6: Unsuccessful DLA applications

If your application is unsuccessful, you have the right of appeal .

For Disability Living Allowance the appeal process starts with a request for a ' mandatory reconsideration' and can be further appealed to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. For more information about a mandatory reconsideration visit the government website.

If you need help with the mandatory reconsideration process you can contact our Learning Disability Helpline.

Email the Learning Disability Helpline

Frequently asked questions about DLA applications

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The information on this page is for guidance only. Mencap hold no responsibility for DWP processes, timescales, decisions and service.

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