DLA (Disability Living Allowance) and AA (Attendance Allowance) are probably the two most important benefits for people with any sort of longer-term illness or disability - including mental health problems.
They are, very broadly speaking, ‘extra’ money for people who don’t manage ‘well’ when left to their own devices - either because of difficulties looking after themselves, communicating and socialising, or because of some sort of ‘risk’.
DLA will be replaced in April 2013 with a new benefit called PIP - Personal Independence Payment. There are concerns about this new type benefit, which we will be addressing shortly.
DLA is paid ON TOP OF ANY other income and are not means tested in any way. In fact getting DLA can qualify you for MORE means tested income as well. Claiming for - and receiving - this benefits can only ever leave you financially better off.
There are various rates for DLA - ranging from weekly payments of £20.55 to £131.50. The rate you are entitled to will be assessed by a number of different ways - and possibly, examinations. You can get this benefit even if you are able to work. The main criteria is basically that you need assistance of some form. You may also be entitled to DLA if you are terminally ill.
DLA Benefit is available for children or adults (under 65 years) with a physical or mental condition or disability that either means that
You do not have to be severely handicapped to claim this benefit, and many recipients do not actually consider themselves as being 'handicapped'. If you simply have 'walking difficulties - even though you might be working - then you could still be entitled to DLA.
Even if you have savings or other income, but suffer as above, then you could be entitled to DLA. Savings and/or income is NOT taken into acount. DLA is a tax-free benefit, and it does not normally affect any other benefits you might be claiming.
Receiving DLA - in the higher care category (Component), can also entitle someone to claim Carer’s Allowance for looking after you.
There are two different parts to DLA - called Care Parts or Components. Sometimes they call them 'Parts' - sometimes they call them 'Components'! The DWP recognises that this might cause confusion, so even explain that they are both one and the same thing as far as DLA is concerned. A 'component' is of course a 'part' so why they have to differentiate we are not sure.
If there is any doubt about your condition, then the DWP may ask you to attend for medical assessment. This would not normally be necessary if the problems caused by your physical or mental condition are obvious. The medical examination will be carried out by a health care professional on behalf of the DWP. If you are not satisfied with the result and implications of your medical assessment, then you can appeal against the decision. There is a special way in which you have to appeal, with relevant forms available from the DWP.
AA is for people who are 65 or over when they first claim. It only looks at people’s Care needs. The qualifying conditions for AA are identical to those for the middle and higher rate of the Care Component of DLA. To get AA you must have had your difficulties for the last six months and they must be likely to continue for the next six.
‘New’ claim packs were introduced in 2003 for AA next>>>