Both Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment (which is replacing DLA) provide help with the extra costs disabled people face when getting around. The DLA or PIP mobility component can continue to be paid indefinitely, but there is an upper age limit of 65 for new claims. This means that some older people cannot get benefits for mobility needs and cannot access linked schemes such as Motability.Jump to full report >>
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit to help people with the extra costs of being disabled. The mobility component of DLA – for help with getting around – is paid at two different levels. The care component – for help with personal care needs – is paid at three levels. For people of working age, DLA is being replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which has a mobility component and a “daily living” component, each of which has two rates (“standard” and “enhanced”).
For both DLA and PIP, there has always been an upper age limit for new claims. People can continue to get DLA or PIP beyond the age of 65, if they continue to satisfy the relevant disability tests, but new claims must have been made before the person’s 65th birthday. Attendance Allowance (AA) may be claimed by people aged 65 or over with care needs, but it has no mobility component.
The upper age limit for new DLA or PIP claims means that people with health problems or disabilities which emerge only after they have reached 65 cannot get help through the benefits system for mobility needs. It also means that they are unable to access other benefits which are linked to receipt of the DLA or PIP mobility component, including the Motability scheme and exemption from Vehicle Excise Duty.
Successive governments have justified the age limit for new claims on cost grounds and the need to give priority to those disabled earlier in life, who are likely to have had less opportunity to work, earn and save than those with mobility needs emerging only after they reach 65.
It is often argued that this constitutes age discrimination, but the courts have ruled that the age limit is not unlawful.
Commons Briefing papers SN07160
Author: Steven Kennedy