You may have been claiming DLA for your child. Once your child turns 16, as a disabled person, they can claim DLA or PIP in their own right, depending on where they live. DLA/PIP is not only extra income to help with the costs of disabled living, it is also a 'passport benefit'. Qualifying for DLA/PIP can automatically entitle your son or daughter to some other benefits and concessions.
Your son or daughter will usually need to open a bank account so that their DLA/PIP can be paid direct to them. If they can't manage to receive payments themselves, payment can be made to someone else who will take responsibility for the claim.
DLA is a particularly complex benefit with a very long claim form and it can be difficult for your child to make a successful claim by themselves. It is a good idea to seek advice about how to claim from an expert. Parents may well already have experience of claiming and know a suitable adviser. Otherwise, find out if your local council has a benefits advice service, contact your local Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) or a disability organisation. It can be tricky making clear the extent of the help and support your child needs. They may be so accustomed to their own way of doing things that they do not realise what they need to explain to someone who doesn't know them.
DLA is in two parts, care and mobility component.
Care Component: Your child can qualify for the care component if your child's disability is severe enough for them to need help caring for him/herself or someone to supervise them, for their own or someone else's safety. As an adult they no longer need to show that they need substantially more help than a non-disabled person of the same age and they can use 'the cooking test'. The cooking test is a simple way of establishing whether they are entitled to at least lower rate care. If they are unable to prepare a simple meal from fresh ingredients on a conventional cooker, assuming they are willing to learn and have the ingredients, they meet the criteria for lower rate care component.
Lower rate - Needing help with personal care either day time or night time or cooking test.
Middle rate - needing help with personal care frequently or supervision continually throughout the day only, or help with personal care or someone to watch over them during the night only, or someone with them while they are on dialysis.
Higher rate - needing help with personal care, which can include needing to be watched and checked, day and night.
The application form is an opportunity to provide the Decision Maker with a full picture of the care your child needs.
As well as ticking the appropriate boxes your child can add extra information about his/her care needs. It can be helpful to keep a diary. if their needs fluctuate, they can establish what level of care they need on an average day. Remember, they do not have to actually receive the care to qualify.
If your child receives middle or high rate care, someone who looks after them for at least 35 hours per week and earls £100 or less a week can claim Carer's Allowance. They do not have to be a relative.
Lower rate - Needing guidance when in unfamiliar surroundings.
Higher rate - Either unable or virtually unable to walk or some blind people/partially sighted people or severely mentally impaired people with severe behavioural problems who qualify for the highest care component.
Always keep copies of their application and any letters or emails you or they send and keep notes on telephone conversations. If their application is turned down, seek advice straight away about requesting a statement of reasons, a reconsideration or appealing against the decision. There are very strict time limits and they may only have one month to get the decision changed.
The government has decided that DLA will be abolished in the future and replaced with a benefit called a Personal Independence payment (introduced in 2013).
The Personal Independence payment is to help toward some of the costs arising from ill-health or disability. It is based on how a person's condition affects them, not the condition they have. it has a component for mobility and a component for 'daily living activates'. Both components will have 2 rates. It includes an assessment by a health professional usually face to face.
As you reach 16 you will be contacted by DWP to explain what will happen.