Tag Archives: application

Tips on applying for Disability Living Allowance

Top Tips for claiming Disability Living Allowance

Have you heard of Disability Living Allowance? Also known as DLA.
It’s a financial benefit that can be applied for to help with the extra costs of caring for children whose needs are above those of children of a similar age.

In brief, it comes in two parts – Mobility and Care. Care is divided into Lower, Middle and Higher rates. Mobility into Higher and Lower. The rate awarded is obviously dependent on the needs of the child, and mobility and care rates are not necessarily awarded at the same rate. The currents rates are between £21.55 and £138.05 per week. If awarded, you may also then be entitled to additional child tax credits, and you may also be eligible to apply for Carer’s Allowance.

Importantly, a child DOES NOT need a diagnosis of any kind to claim DLA. It is strictly about the child’s needs.

Much more information can be found on the Government website here: https://www.gov.uk/disability-living-allowance-children

Forms are downloadable, or can be sent to you to fill in. And to be honest, they can look pretty scary. They are comprehensive, enabling your child’s situation to be assessed. There are MANY questions, all focussing on the difficult and challenging parts of parenting a child with additional needs. But, help is at hand with those scary forms. I’m no expert, but I applied for DLA a few years ago and was successfully awarded it for my son for a period of 2 years, and I have also recently completed the renewal pack and am pleased that it’s been awarded for a further 2 years. I couldn’t have done this without some assistance from another adopter, and now I hope my tips might help you successfully apply.

Tips for applying for DLA

I cannot stress highly enough that a successful award is NOT based on diagnosis, but based on needs.

Throughout your application:

DO show how your child’s needs are over and above children of the same age.
DO use phrases such as ‘not meeting milestones’ as this is a recognised indicator of development.
DO refer to the guidance notes.
DO use the extra information opportunities.

What information to include:

DO fill in the form based on your worst day and night. The care component is in part based on night-time needs, so make sure you detail these fully.
DO be completely honest – if it takes an hour to settle your child in bed, then say so.
DO not worry about repeating yourself, just be consistent.
DO give examples of the additional support required – if night-time disturbances are toileting issues, then say so. If your child has no sense of danger and needs help staying safe whilst out walking, then say so.
DO be detailed.
DO ring your doctor/consultants to check dates if necessary.
DO include all illnesses and ailments – even if you think they’re irrelevant now.
DO include information about your child’s background and early life IF it is relevant to their needs and behaviours now.
DO include information about other professionals that you are working with.

What to send with your application:

DO send as much supporting evidence as possible – therapist reports, copy of your child’s IEP, educational psychologist reports, CAMHS recommendations, and anything else you have.
DO ask a professional to add a supporting statement – our Post Adoption Social Worker helped us in our original application, and we also sent a short email from our CAMHS therapist.

More tips:

DO keep a copy of your application so you can refer back to it at renewal time.
DO remember that you’re focussing on the negatives and that’s hard, but it’s only for a short time.
DO call the DLA helpline if you have specific questions – 0345 712 3456
DO remember that you don’t need to justify what you spend the money on – it’s your business.
DO get in touch if you need support with filling in the form – we’re happy to help.

Good luck!

New Early Years Provision for Adopted Children

playStarting in September 2014, the provision for free early education and childcare for some two-year-olds will be extended to include all children adopted from local authority care, and children under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or a residence order.

The provision includes 15 hours of free education or childcare each week for 38 weeks of the year. Three and four-year-olds have been entitled for some time now, as well as some two-year-olds under certain circumstances, but these changes will mean that adopted children are brought into the provision regardless of family income or special needs.

Further information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/free-early-education

Welcome though this provision might be for some families, I feel I must inject a word of caution. I have tried to claim this entitlement twice in the past for looked after children who were eligible. Both times my claim has not been successful.

In the first instance, it wasn’t in the child’s care plan to attend nursery upon turning two. When, six months later, his care plan was changed to include attendance at nursery, I attempted to claim the free entitlement. At first there was some confusion about how this was to be done. Nobody seemed clear on who was to make the claim on his behalf. Eventually, our Health Visitor agree to refer him. The claim was rejected because we didn’t make it soon enough after his second birthday.

The second child was also eligible, but by the time it was in his care plan to start nursery I felt sure we wouldn’t get the free place because it was way past his second birthday and, judging by my previous experience, this was going to be a problem. However, the nursery suggested I try anyway and gave me the name and number of the person at the council who deals with applications.

I met with him directly and he assured me that we weren’t too late to apply, so I made the application. Several weeks later I heard via the nursery that the application had been rejected because the child only needed it for one term (as he was due to turn three during that term) and they don’t give out the free places for only one term. It was particularly galling as a friend’s child, who is two months younger, got her free place.

It seems that there is some confusion around who is eligible, how to claim and when to claim.

My advice if you intend to make use of this provision is to approach your nursery or LA as soon as possible (even if your child is not due to start for some time) and establish the correct route for applying in plenty of time so that there are no unpleasant surprises later.

Today’s post was written by Suddenly Mummy, a foster carer and adoptive mum. Find out more about her here.