Disability living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence allowance (PIP)

  • FosterWiki
  • Author:FosterWiki
  • Published:Updated December 2022
  • Country: United Kingdom

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Allowance (PIP)

Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence allowance

A foster carers introduction and guide to DLA and PIP

1. Introduction to DLA and PIP

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a tax-free benefit for children with disabilities who need help with care or mobility costs. It is made up of two parts. The child might qualify for one or both components.

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is for children and young people over the age of 16yrs and is based on a different type of assessment. It is also based on two parts, a daily living component and a mobility component.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) recipients are allowed to spend PIP on whatever they like, there are no rules. But the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) say the aim of PIP is to help get around outside (mobility) and/or disability aids or personal-care help.

You should think about applying if your child has a long-term illness that affects their everyday activities, even if you do not consider your child to be disabled.
The disability allowances are not means-tested.

Foster carers can claim Carer’s Allowance (CA) if they care for a child that receives the middle or higher rate of the care component of DLA or daily living component of the PIP.

These allowances are the child’s or young adults, it is not the local authorities. Foster carers are accountable for their use of DLA and PIP to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) not to the local authority.
At the bottom of this guide, in section 7, you will find all the links to relevant government and other information you will need and find helpful to complete your claim.

2. When and how to make a claim

The earliest you can apply for DLA is from 3 months of age. However, if your child has a terminal condition and you’ve been told they may not live for more than 6 months, there are special rules which mean the benefit can be paid from birth.

The health problem your child has must result in your child needing substantially more care or supervision than other children of the same age that don’t have the health problem.

If your child is under 16 years old you can claim on their behalf. Once they are 16 years old or older they can claim in their own right. Foster carer or host (shared lives/staying put) can be an Appointee for DLA or PIP if the young person is not able to manage their own finances. They will visit you and ask questions and issue you with a letter. An appointee takes on all the rights and responsibilities of the child.

Otherwise, the young person, provided they are capable, can have the benefits paid to them directly. Where a child is eligible or potentially eligible for DLA a foster carer claims on the child’s behalf. DLA is provided by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to “enhance a child’s life”. The foster carer will make the claim and manage any subsequent payments.

Foster carers must notify their supervising social worker if they are considering making a DLA claim on behalf of a child in their care. A record of the discussion will be noted on the carer’s supervision record.

The supervising social worker can support the carer in claiming DLA. It is not always an easy process as the claim form is quite long and the supervising social worker will be able to help with it and obtain extra evidence from the child’s social worker, schools, and health workers to back up the claim.
Make sure to record any claim or proposed claim within the Placement Plan or Child’s Care Plan and at the Child in Care or LAC review.

Full eligibility terms can be found on the UK Government website in the links in section 7.

Carer’s Allowance (CA)

You can claim Carer’s Allowance (CA) if you care for someone who receives the middle or higher rate of the care component of DLA or the daily living component of PIP. This could be an adult, your child, or a foster child, as long as you care for them 35 hours a week, and you earn under £110 net a week (foster payments are ignored as earnings). Your income from fostering is disregarded for calculating CA, but CA is taxable, so you would need to declare it on your tax return.

Note: You can not claim carer’s allowance anymore if they go into Shared Lives.

Blue Badge

Some children/ young people can get a blue badge – to claim they have PIP or DLA. It does not have to be a physical disability to get a Blue Badge. This can also be claimed if you are caring for an Autistic child and it depends on their level of need. You have to pay for this, it’s not a lot and it last 3 years. You can only use this when the child is with you.

Water bill

If you have a disabled child or adult on DLA or PIP you get help with your water bill – foster carer claims this and the water bill is reduced. It helps if you do extra washing, showers etc – this is about the disabled person not foster carers so you don’t yourself have to be on benefits to get

Warm Home Discount Scheme

Vulnerable households at risk of fuel poverty are able to claim some help towards heating costs from the government this winter, you will need to check with your own electric and gas supplier to see if you meet their own criteria.

Child Winter Heating Assistance is a benefit from the Scottish Government. It was first paid in 2020.
It’s a payment to help disabled children and young people and their families with increased heating costs over winter. It’s paid once a year. The payment for winter 2021-2022 is £202. Payments are usually made from the end of November onwards.

Child Winter Heating Assistance (Scotland) https://www.mygov.scot/child-winter-heating-assistance?fbclid=IwAR3GwA95Sob_ezL5PjDzARVWezvOxNr5fz5CscDm0nSvxZq8qSDhZy-zjuI

Other Payments

Children and adults get an extra payment on PIP /DLA at Christmas – £10.00 paid in as usual

3. What can the money be used for?

There are no conditions laid down by the Department of Work and Pension (DWP) as to how the money should be spent. It is intended that the money be used to enhance the child’s life so that the child gets maximum benefit from the payment.

The Disability Living Allowance is there to help meet any extra costs associated with caring for a child who is disabled or has a long-term health condition.

As a foster carer, you can use the money for social skills or other care in lots of situations Here are just some examples;

  • Going out for the day to somewhere they will benefit from and obviously, a fostering family you would be expected to go as well to support. The funding would come from this to pay for the fostering family, not just the child as they can’t go alone.
  • Help with getting around.
  • To pay for extra clubs or anything else that you feel will benefit the child. Activities that are costly e.g. horse riding, after-school clubs not at school.
  • Dependent on age, an escort to enable social events to be attended for more independence from foster carers
  • Extra helper for an outing or holiday.
  • Mobility devices or things around the home to make it easier for the child.
  • Special holiday for the child, which could include covering the foster family’s expenses.
  • Caravan expenses so the child can have regular breaks in a familiar place.
  • Individual equipment such as computers or communication aids.
  • Extra Laundry service and appliances bed wetting/ soiling.
  • Replacement clothing where there is excessive wear and tear on clothing.
  • Additional help with personal care.
  • Special toys to meet child’s needs – which may be of therapeutic value.
  • Higher heating bills.

These additional expenses are those over and above what you are being paid to provide already.

DLA is intended for the immediate day to day benefit of the child in their care rather than to save the money for the child’s future independence or care.

It is really important that foster carers keep records of disability allowance money and how it is spent. It is also recommended that foster carers have a separate bank account for the child or young person for these monies and that all expenditure can be accounted for and that if you are unsure of spending the money on something for the child or young person you get confirmation/permission from the child’s social worker and your supervising social worker

4. DLA and PIP rates 2020-2021

DLA rates

Lowest Middle Highest
Living allowance part £23.60 £59.70 £89.15
Mobility part £23.60 £62.25


PIP rates 2020-2021

Lower Higher
Living allowance part £60 £89.60
Mobility part £23.79 £62.55

PIP is tax-free and the amount you get is not affected by income or savings.

5. What Foster Carers Say:

6. Chrities caring for children and young people with disabilities

7. Information, Help and Support

Help and support created for foster carers, by foster carers, we are the experts by experience. We have the first foster carers knowledge bank.

Please find our help and support page here.

Access both the open pages and members area. Both are free to access and footprint-free. The member’s area gives you privileged confidential access to FosterWiki’s experts by experience for advice and guidance. You will also find short courses and guides from the foster carer’s perspective, top tips, allegation help, templates, and the ability to add to FosterWiki. With more content being uploaded regularly.

Please let us know what information or advice pages you would find useful and we will put them in place. https://fosterwiki.com/register/

8. Links

disabilities disability Disability living Allowance disabled DLA Personal Independence allowance PIP
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