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What is the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults?

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit paid to people who have a long-term illness or disability and who are under pension age. The illness or disability should have a significant impact on the way a person can care for himself or herself or move around.

Who can claim DLA for adults?

DLA for adults is what is known as a legacy benefit, which means that you are no longer able to make a claim for the benefit. The benefit has been replaced for people over the age of 16 and under pension age by Personal Independence Payment (PIP). People with a long-term illness or disability who are over pension age can claim Attendance Allowance.

If you were born on or before 8 April 1948 and were already in receipt of DLA you will remain on the benefit as long as you still meet the criteria of the benefit. If you were born after this date you will be invited to claim either PIP or Adult Disability Benefit if you live in Scotland. You don’t need to do anything as you will be sent a letter by the Department for Work and Pensions and invited to apply for either of the replacement benefits.

After receiving the letter you have 28 days to make your application, otherwise your DLA payment will stop. If you make a claim you will remain on DLA until the decision is made on your claim for either PIP or Adult Disability Benefit in Scotland.

What will you receive?

DLA is made up of two components:

  • Care component
  • Mobility component

The care component is at three rates; low, middle or high, depending on the support you need during the day or night. If you need sighted support with daily tasks like cooking, reading or dressing you would have been assessed on one of the rates within the care component. If you can show that you need sighted support or supervision both day and night, you may have been awarded the high rate of the care component.

The mobility component is made up of two rates; low and high. If you are assessed to have difficulties or need sighted support to move around you may be entitled to low rate mobility. To be eligible for high rate mobility you had to be registered as Severely Sight Impaired on 11 April 2011 and, if you have macular disease, be assessed to see less than the top letter on the letter chart at the eye clinic.

What can you do if something changes?

If you experience changes with your vision or any other health condition, you can request a ‘change of circumstances’. Contact the Disability Service Centre and let them know that something has changed and they will send you a form to complete. It is important to seek advice before requesting to have your benefit looked at again. When you request a change of circumstances, you are putting your entire claim at risk so it could increase, decrease or you could lose it completely. If you are on low rate care it may be worth considering as if you are assessed on to middle rate care this may make you entitled to other benefits.

You will be assessed for any changes and, if successful, remain on Disability Living Allowance. They will not look at the mobility component; only the care component will be looked at again.

DLA can also be paid to children who have a long-term illness or disability and who are under 16 years of age. To learn more about DLA for children, see our Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children webpage.

Need any further information about DLA for adults?

Contact the Macular Society Helpline on 0300 3030 111 or email info@macularsociety.org

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Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to financial support from the government. Welfare benefits are available to help those living with macular disease, and their families, with extra costs.

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We provide free information and support to those with macular disease, along with their family and friends, to help people keep their independence.

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Free confidential advice and support

Call our helpline on 0300 3030 111

Lines are open 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday

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