Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is non -means tested benefit and does not have an impact on any other benefits that you may be claiming or a house hold income.
I didn’t actually realise how much extra I was providing for my son that has a PDA and aspergers diagnosus. I just took it as normal that if I wanted my child to access certain things I just had to try and find the extra costs! You will notice when completing the form actually how much you do provide.
DLA is for children 16 years or younger. The allowance has two components – the care component and the mobility component. To qualify for the care component your child must require more supervision and more attention than a typically developing child of the same age. How much attention they require will determine the type of rate that you will receive, from lower rate to middle rate to higher rate.
Higher rate will be needing attention around the day and a substantial part of the night. Lower rate would be around an extra hour a day as to a normal child of age and middle would be supervision and attention during the day and some of the night.
The form is long and I was warned to gather as much evidence that I had to support my claim. This may be diagnosis forms or any other medical or professional reports that can help evidence your case to prove how much care you do provide.
Mobility again is dependent on how much care and attention they need out in public. This is rated into either lower mobility or higher mobility.
We did the form over a week, completing a few questions each evening as I wanted our report to be thorough. My bible for helping me answer each question correctly was the cerebra.org.uk. A good friend of mine guided me to this and I have to confess would of been lost without this resource.
These were just a few of the things that the forms took into account:
- Extra time that it took to brush teeth due to sensory issues, having to help and assist to brush teeth and wash face;
- Extra time to dress and undress due to demands being placed so extra help given and more choices;
- Sleepless nights due to our child not being able to shut down like others at night;
- Being out of work and not being able to have a job as the demands of my child was so high that school needed me on tap and after school clubs were just a big ‘no’ due to a number of reasons;
- The cost of 1-1 swimming lessons as my child could not access the busy pool and be able to have concentration;
- The cost of 1-1 horse riding, this was a big part of life when our child was out of education for a short time, this activity got him out of the house and still taking instructions from others and socialising and also learning empathy;
- If your child can become abusive in public if anxiety levels are heightened and needs extra supervision;
- Your child may have fine motor skills problems;
- Child can be resistant to getting dressed due to sensory over load;
- Child could have delayed processing and may need extra time to understand what has been said;
- Child may need sentences repeated and need people to communicate slower;
- Child may avoid eye contact and rely on parent to answer when another adult or child is talking to them, and finding it easier to talk to adults rather than children their own age;
- Child may become distressed when out in public due to anxiety and sensory over load;
- You need to supervise as your child struggles to understand taking turns with others;
- Child may dominate others and become aggressive to others;
- Child has extra anxiety at night time and may need comforting and reassurance;
These are just a few of the reasons that we added and there is a lot more! You do not really understand the extra support that you may be providing and I think as parents we just do it as there is no other option.
With our DLA we were lucky enough to be able to carry on supporting the swimming lessons and our child’s hobbies that needed the extra cost of 1-1.
Getting a claim form is simple I called the number and ordered my form. Simply call 0800 121 4600 or in Northern Ireland call 0300 123 3356.
Claim forms can be also be obtained from your local job centre plus office.
I advise to call and the claim will be backdated from the date of the request (call) – so keep a note of the date you called and the name of the person on the phone handy.
A good guide to also look at can be found here