Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

current issue

February – March 2024 : The little things READ ONLINE


Legal lounge: Disability Living Allowance

May 20 2009
Could you qualify for the tax-free benefit for people with a physical or mental disability? "Goodness me, Henry," Kellie chided gently. "We expected you over three hours ago!" "I'm terribly sorry," he replied. "It took so long to dress this morning." "Well, you're here now. Take a seat," I offered, waving to the huge brown leather sofa opposite me. "Kellie, Henry looks like he would appreciate a coffee." "My thoughts exactly," she said, smiling. "I'll put some on." I picked up my own coffee and leaned back into the armchair. "So Henry, what brings you here today?" He seemed a little embarrassed. "Well, actually, a friend mentioned you may be able to assist me with some money problems I'm having." "I see. You want to file for bankruptcy?" "No, not that. I'm finding it very difficult at the moment. I haven't been able to work since the accident and I really can't manage any longer on the paltry income support I get. I barely have money to eat." His voice cracked and he looked down into his lap despairingly. "I just wanted some advice," he muttered softly. Kellie set the coffee down gently on the heavy oak coffee table between us, and took a seat on another sofa. The room was still, save the embers crackling on the hearth. We sat there for a moment, nursing our coffees as we quietly pondered the situation. The tranquillity was broken as Henry's stick clattered to the floor. Kellie swiftly picked it up for him. "Thank you, my dear." He sighed. "I can barely get anywhere without this, you know." "Is that why you took so long getting here?" She asked. "Yes. I did have a few jobs since the accident, but it was impossible to keep them as getting ready and travelling in the mornings took me so long." He replied. "The accident?" "Yes, a dog mauled me a year ago. Bit through the fibres in my muscles and tendons and now my left leg is useless." I realised that whilst Henry's walking difficulties caused him a problem, they could also provide the solution we were looking for. As Kellie and Henry discussed the details of the accident, I wandered over to the bookcase and selected a thick blue volume. Kellie looked up. "I was just thinking the same thing!" She grinned. "I'm sure I would be more impressed if I knew what the two of you were on about," Henry grumbled. "Well, your difficulties walking may qualify you for extra benefits," I announced. "Really?" Henry's curiosity was piqued. "If I'm not mistaken, Jen is suggesting that you may be eligible for Disability Living Allowance." Kellie explained. "How's that?" He replied indignantly. "I am not disabled." "Maybe not in the conventional sense of the word," I agreed. "But you are eligible for a claim if your disability causes you problems walking. I would say from what you describe, you have a good chance of being awarded the higher rate of the mobility component of the award." "At the very least he would qualify for the lower rate, wouldn't he, Jen? That's ¬¨¬£16.50 a week, and the higher rate is ¬¨¬£43.45." "Hmmm... yes. Henry, how are you at cooking?" I asked. If Henry was surprised by the question, he didn't show it. "Well, I used to make a full Sunday roast, although I must admit I haven't cooked at all in the last year. I can barely stand in the kitchen to put a meal in a microwave." "Do you have any help at home?" asked Kellie. "Yes, I do. My daughter comes round after work every evening to make me something to eat, help me tidy. I don't know what I'd do without her. She..." he trailed off and turned his head away. Kellie turned to me. "I'm thinking of a possible claim for the care component as well, Jen. What do you think?" I looked up from the book. "I think we have a good claim for the lower rate, as Henry is being supervised for at least some of the day and is unable to cook for himself." Henry looked intrigued. "How do I go about claiming this then?" He asked eagerly. "I think we'll download you a form from the Internet. It's quite a long form but we can help you fill it out." Kellie offered. The grandfather clock began striking midnight with its warbled chimes. I stood up. "I do believe that the form will have to wait until tomorrow. Unless you fancy watching the sun rise with two women," I joked. "Hmmm... Caffeine-fuelled legal debate until the wee hours? I think you may just witness this old man walk faster than he has in a year." Henry propped himself onto his stick and tipped his hat. "Ladies, I'll be seeing you tomorrow." 'Kellie' Disability Living Allowance DLA is a tax-free benefit for children and adults: 1. with a physical or mental disability 2. whose disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself or you have walking difficulties 3. who are under 65 when they claim There are two components to DLA and a person could be eligible for one or both of these: The care component For persons who: 1. require help with washing, dressing, eating, getting to and using the toilet or communicating their needs 2. require supervision to avoid putting themselves or others in substantial danger 3. require someone with them when they are on dialysis 4. be unable to prepare a cooked main meal for themselves Amounts payable under the care component range from ?î???16.50-?î???62.25 per week. The mobility component For persons whose disability is severe enough for them to have the following walking difficulties even when wearing or using an aid or equipment: 1. unable or virtually unable to walk, or have no feet or legs 2. both 100% blind and 80% deaf and need someone with them when out of doors 3. severely mentally impaired with severe behavioural problems and qualify for the highest rate of the care component 4. the effort of walking could threaten their life or seriously affect health Amounts payable under the mobility component range from ?î???16.50 - ?î???43.45 per week. DLA can be claimed by contacting the Job Centre and is not dependent on whether you work - savings and income are irrelevant.