Your child is entitled to DLA if they need more help, support and care than NT children their age or children without a disability. They don’t have to have a diagnosis, though of course, submitting diagnosis reports can help.

One problem that people run into with DLA applications is that the assessor who looks at the form will be looking for particular words and phrases to be used. This fact is not advertised and so claimants don’t know what the assessors are looking for. It can be confusing to be turned down when your child is obviously in need of much more care than most children their age.

Here are a list of words and phrases that you should try to use when describing your child’s difficulties and care requirements. I myself have successfully used these words and phrases in my daughter’s DLA applications and also my father’s attendance allowance application. It is not a case of not telling the truth, but a case of describing the difficulties in a certain way.



Substantial danger

(In relation to) bodily functions

Throughout the day/ night





These are not exhaustive but they are the words that I have successfully used and are, I believe words and phrases that have been agreed upon in tribunals in the past.

I will give an example of two ways of describing a child’s needs and the second example is the correct way to describe needs.

1. Lucy is always trying to put her fingers in the plug sockets around the house which is really stressful and worrying for me as a parent because I worry that she will injure herself. She doesn’t understand that this is dangerous.

2. Lucy requires my continual supervision and attention throughout the day because she tries to put her fingers into plug sockets which puts her and others in substantial danger.

Both paragraphs say the same thing but the second paragraph explains it in a way that will help to get the award.

When it comes to mobility, if, like my daughter your child can physically walk but can’t safely make a journey anywhere or requires ‘restraint’ then you can argue that they meet the criteria for higher rate mobility based upon the fact that they have severe mental impairment. Note that ‘restraint’ can simply mean a hand on their shoulder so that they don’t run away when out. My daughter can run like the wind but she has no notion of any danger. She therefore gets higher rate mobility.

Here are some other tips;

– where the form asks you ‘how long’ or ‘how many times a day’, write ‘throughout’. The questions are designed to encourage you to make it looks as if your child’s needs are not as severe as they are. If your child’s ability to do something or their need for your help to do it at any time of the day does not change, you write ‘throughout’

– compare your child with NT children your child’s age. Eg, ‘Emily is unable to walk to the corner shop alone because she becomes distracted and places herself in substantial danger since she is unable to cross the road safely by herself and requires continual restraint to do this from myself at all times. This is in contrast to her NT cousin who is also 12 but is able to do these tasks alone, without her mother, safely.’

– Explain what you have to do for your child every day and explain what happens if you don’t do it.

– Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself again and again. You need to hammer these points home! You need to assume that the assessor knows nothing about your child’s care needs (because most likely, they won’t!)

– To get higher rate care your child needs night care for at least 20 minutes. This includes having to lie with them so that they fall asleep.

– There is no room for anything positive on these forms.

– Never say ‘sometimes’ as this will give the assessor a reason to ignore that point/issue.

– Write your own responses if you have more to say than you can fit into the form.

– if you get turned down, appeal, do not give up!

A note on PIP;

I have applied for PIP for my daughter. She was asked to go to a face to face assessment but her social worker wrote to the DWP saying that it was not in her best interests to be dragged to an unfamiliar place. So they awarded PIP based on available reports. She is in a residential school so there were many available staff to support this.

I am hearing that assessors tell blatant lies about what happened / what was said at face to face interviews. I have heard that you may inform the DWP that you wish to record the interview 10 days before. In doing this you may be able to deter them from lying because if you record their lies you have proof of misconduct.

Always take someone with you to the interview. If you go alone they will question why you could get there alone. And the interviews are often over an hour’s journey from home.

I am going to have more experience with PIP and will post updates on any useful information that I find out…..

Watch this space 👍

3 thoughts on “Tips on how to make a successful application for Disability Living Allowance for children (with general advice about the language used)

  1. Thank you. This is so needed right now, I am in the middle of filling in my first claim. I am having a meeting with a carers support person who will help me, but these pointers are very useful. Pam Robinson

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

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