DLA- Disability Living Allowance is a payment available for those aged 3 months to their 16th birthday. It is not means tested. 

There are 2 components: Care & Mobility. 


Low rate (LRC) – at least 1-hour care needed during day OR night. 

Middle Rate (MRC) – Significant needs day OR night. 

High Rate (HRC) – Significant care needs day AND night. 


Low rate (LRM) – Only from age 5. 

High Rate (HRM) – From age 3. 

There is an additional criterion called SMI- Severe Mental Impairment- with very specific criteria. This is for those who may qualify for HRM but are not necessarily physically disabled or have a life-limiting disability. 

It’s important to show care needs and impact- diagnosis alone doesn’t show care needs. 

•Avoid using worse day, put varies and how it varies. 

•Timings they’re looking at 20 minutes plus regularly. 

•Mobility for the high rate to be considered first 2 questions must be yes. 

•Key words: frequently, regularly, often, daily, “not like a child of a similar age”

•Use EYFS charts as a guide to age expectations. 

•Average assessor gets 20-25 minutes to read everything you send in. Send in – and HIGHLIGHT- key factors. 

•Someone who knows the child, can be anyone. 

•Night is deemed 11 pm-6 am unless you state differently. 

•Night starts from when You go to bed- not child. 

• Middle-rate care can cover day OR night needs. 

•High rate care must show evidence of significant day AND night needs. 

•Lower rate mobility can not be awarded for under 5’s. 

•High rate of mobility is from age 3. 

•Always keep copies of what you send. 

•Always get proof of posting or recorded delivery. 

If initially refused you must do an MR- mandatory reconsideration- before you can appeal. 

•Ask for reasons in writing, this gives you an additional 2 weeks to send extra evidence. 

Remember DLA assessors are not medically trained professionals and do not have the legal boundaries to question or judge a medical professional’s report/ diagnosis; nor can they make their own assumptions. 

PIP advice:

One thing to add at the back of PIP forms is this wording. 

”Should a face-to-face assessment be needed, the assessor must be appropriately trained/ experienced in the medical needs/ diagnosis of the applicant”

I’ve used this with a PIP appeal to show that the assessor wasn’t appropriately medically trained to assess on that diagnosis etc.

If MR fails- always appeal.

Useful links. 

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – Cerebra

DWP DLA Staff guide. 


Contact DLA Guide


PIP Assessment criteria: