Your rights to financial support in England, Northern Ireland and Wales if you have a child under 16 who is disabled. You can also use this information if you live inNorthern Ireland, some of the names of institutions are different but the law and the process is the same.
We know that many deaf people and families of deaf children don't consider deafness to be a disability. However, even if you don't consider your deaf child to be disabled, they may still be eligible for disability benefits such as DLA.
Read stories from families who have successfully applied for Disability living Allowance (DLA) and appealed decisions.
What you need to know
- The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have published easy read and British Sign Language (BSL) versions of their guides to DLA.
- You can apply for DLA by going to theUK website to print off theDLAclaim form or by calling the Disability Living Allowance helpline at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for free on0800 121 4600 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) to request a paper form or book a face-to-face appointment. If you're a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can contact the helpline by textphone on 0800 121 4523 or via Relay UKon 18001 then 0800 121 4600, and BSLvideo relay service on a computer ormobile or tablet.
- DLA has been replaced by Child Disability Payment (CDP) in Scotland.
- The process for claiming DLA in Northern Ireland is very similar to England and Wales but is managed by a different government body, Social Security Agency (SSA).
- If the DWP do not award you DLA, or you feel you’ve been awarded the wrong amount, you can ask them to look at your application again. This is called a mandatory reconsideration, and you can ask for one by phone, by letter or byfilling in and returning a form within a month of the date on your decision letter.
What is Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a disability benefit for children under 16 who are deaf or disabled. DLA helps towards some ofthe extra costs of raising a child who needs more looking after than another child of the same age without disabilities.
It’s not means-tested or taxable, which means that you can apply regardless of how much you earn, how much money you have in savings or any other benefits you may already receive. Getting DLA can also make you eligible for additional financial support, including help with transport and heating costs. There are no rules about what you can spend the money on.
There are two parts to DLA – the care component and the mobility component.
The care component is £22.65, £57.30 or £85.60 a week.
You can claim the care component if your child needs more help or supervision compared with a child of the same age without disabilities. For deaf children, this can include help with things like hearing, speech, lip-reading, making themselves understood and extra help at school. Extra supervision they may need to keep them safe, for example with young children to stop them putting their hearing technology in their mouth, is also relevant.
The mobility component is £22.65 or £59.75 a week.
You can claim the mobility component if your child is at least five years old and needs more supervision when walking outdoors than a child of the same age without disabilities. If they have additional needs that cause physical problems with walking, you can claim from age three.
Read Holi's story.
When can I claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for my child?
You can apply for DLA for your deaf child at any time before they turn 16. If you’re applying for the mobility component, your child must be at least five years old (or three years old if they have additional needs that cause physical problems with walking).
If you’re applying for DLA before your child is three years old, be really clear about all the extra help you give. All babies and toddlers need lots of care and attention, so it can be difficult to describe what you are doing that is over and above this. However, many deaf babies and toddlers need constant supervision because they are at risk of choking on their hearing technology – hearing aid batteries, for example, or require a lot more support to understand speech and learning language. This might make you eligible for the middle rate of the care component.
How do I apply for Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?
You can make a new claim for DLA either by printing off the DLA claim form and submitting it to the DWP, or you can call the Disability Living Allowance helpline to request a paper form or book a face-to-face appointment. The method you choose will have an impact on when any potential DLA payments will start.
Printing off the DLA claim form
Go to theGov.uk website to print off theDLAclaim form. If you download and print the DLA claim form, the DLA will only start from the date the DWP receives your completed claim form.
Requesting a paper form or face-to-face appointment
You can call the Disability Living Allowance helpline at the DWP for free on0800 121 4600 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) to request a paper form and a prepaid return envelope or book a face-to-face appointment. If you phone for a paper form, there will be two dates stamped on it. The first is the date you requested the form and the second, six weeks later, is the date you have to return the completed form. If you return the form by the second date, any DLA your child is awarded will start from the first date (the date you requested the form).
If you're a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can contact the helpline by textphone on 0800 121 4523 or via Relay UKon 18001 then 0800 121 4600, and BSLvideo relay service on a computer ormobile or tablet.
If English isn’t your first language, you can contact the DWP to get help in your chosen language. However, you have to apply in English.
Filling in the claim form can be a long and potentially upsetting process. Take your time and reach out for support. If you need help accessing or filling in the application form, you can call the Disability Living Allowance helpline at the DWP for free on0800 121 4600 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) to book a face-to-face appointment.
Alternatively, if you have questions about how to fill in the form for your deaf child, you can contact our free Helpline to talk to a helpline officer or to book a virtual benefits advice appointment.
Filling in the application form
Your claim will be assessed based on the information you provide on the claim form and any additional information you submit in support of your claim. Remember, the person making the decision about your claim isn’t medically trained and likely won’t know anything about deafness.
When you fill in the form, you have to show that your child needs much more attention or supervision than a hearing child of the same age.
Attention is the practical help that you give to your child. For example, help with fitting, removing and maintaining hearing aids and cochlear implant processors, and help with communication and language development.
Supervision is watching over your child to avoid danger to them or another person. For example, making sure your child is safe when crossing the road.
If your child can’t do things that a child their age would normally be expected to do, give details on the form. If you know a hearing child of a similar age, it may help to make a comparison. Think about all the things you do that you wouldn’t need to do if your child was hearing and write these on the form.
It may be helpful for you to keep a diary for two or three days to show what a ‘typical day’ is like for you and your deaf child. Include this in your application. Try to record each time you give your child more attention and supervision because of their deafness.Note down how long it takes to provide extra care.
We’ve created example diaries to give you some ideas of what to include:
- diary for a profoundly deaf child aged under three
- diary for a profoundly deaf child aged 10.
We've listed some examples of what extra attention or supervision can be.
- If your child is very young or a baby, making sure they don’t put parts of their hearing technology in their mouth.
- Cleaning, refitting, and looking after the hearing technology your child uses.
- Attracting your child’s attention before speaking to them.
- Repeating things because they haven’t heard you.
- Teachers needing to repeat what other children have said in class.
- Additional help with learning to make sure they don’t fall behind their peers.
- Being within touching distance of them when outside because they can’t hear road traffic.
In the form, you’re asked to write down how often you help your child and how many minutes this takes each time. It’s important to say how often each day you help your child, if you can. If you can’t say how long it takes because the time varies or it’s difficult to measure, leave the minutes box blank and explain this in the box underneath.
What supporting evidence should I include?
Including supporting information in your application is very important as it helps you show the DWP how your child’s deafness affects them and the extra support they need. If your child has additional needs, long-term conditions or disabilities in addition to their deafness, include their care and mobility needs in the same application form.
To provide the DWP with an accurate picture of you and your child’s lived experience, you should include:
- medical reports or letters of identification, such as hearing test results, audiograms, ABRs, discharge letters from hospitals, or cochlear implant mapping reports
- details of any other conditions your child may have , their severity and the effect they have
- a daily diary of the additional care and attention your child requires because of their deafness and/or their additional needs
- test results or certificates, care or treatment plans, and therapies or adaptations
- social care or social work assessments
- educational support plans or reports or letters from your child’s school
- the supporting information form filled out by someone who knows or cares for your child.
We have instructions for friends, family and professionals on how to write a supporting letter for a DLA claim.
Any supporting evidence you send the DWP should be a photocopy as they can’t return original documents, and you should submit any supporting evidence with your claim form. If you’re waiting for any pieces of supporting evidence, write what it is in question 89 and send it to the DWP once you’ve received it: Freepost DWP DLA Child.
Make sure you write your child’s full name, date of birth and National Insurance number (if they have one) on each piece of evidence so it can be linked to your claim.
You should receive a decision from the DWP about eight to twelve weeks after your form has been received. If your application has been successful, the letter will include the date of your first DLA payment and how long your award is for. In some cases, DLA will be awarded indefinitely (with no end date) but most of the time it will be awarded for a fixed period of three or five years.
DLA can’t be backdated. However, if you called the Disability Living Allowance helpline to receive a paper copy of the form, and you return your form within six weeks, your claim will start on the date of your first call. Meaning you’ll be paid DLA for the time it took for you to fill in and return the form, and for the DWP to make their decision.
If you’re unhappy with the decision, you can challenge it by asking for a mandatory reconsideration.
What is a mandatory reconsideration?
If the DWP do not award you DLA, or you feel you have been awarded the wrong amount, because they’ve made an error or missed important evidence you submitted with your claim, you can ask them to look at your application again. This is called a mandatory reconsideration. It’s important to remember that when asking for the DWP to look at your DLA award again, there is a risk that it can go up or down, stop completely or stay the same.
You can ask for a mandatory reconsideration by phone, by letter or byfilling in and returning a mandatory reconsideration form within a month of the date on your decision letter. If you’re writing, the letter or form must arrive by then. You can apply late if you’ve been in hospital or suffered a bereavement.
In your request for a mandatory reconsideration, you need to explain what part of the DWP’s decision was wrong and why. You can include evidence, but this should be new and not already included in your DLA application. They will send you a mandatory reconsideration notice with their decision.
Appealing a Disability Living Allowance (DLA) decision
If you’re still unhappy with your DLA decision after a mandatory reconsideration, you can ask for an appeal within one month. If you miss this, you can still appeal but you will have to explain why your request is late, and your appeal may not be accepted.
Your appeal is decided by the First-tier Tribunal, which is independent of the DWP. You can choose whether to attend the tribunal in person, have a remote hearing by phone or video call, or have the appeal decided on the papers. If you have a hearing, you will be asked questions about your child. Your child will not attend or be asked any questions.
If you attend the hearing in person, you might get the decision on the day. Otherwise, it will be sent to you in the post after the hearing.
What is a DLA review?
The DWP may choose to review your current DLA award to make sure you are being paid the right amount. A review is not the same as a mandatory reconsideration.
They will ask you to provide more information about the impact of your child’s disability and may request updated supporting information. They may decide to stop your DLA or change the amount you have been awarded. You can apply for a mandatory reconsideration of a review decision.
What is a DLA renewal?
Most DLA awards are given for a fixed amount of time, usually three or five years. If your child’s DLA renewal date is coming up, the DWP should automatically send you a renewal pack with a new claim form.
A renewal is different from a review. For a DLA renewal you need to fill in the new claim form as if you’re applying for DLA for the first time. Treat it as an entirely new application.