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Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999


Section 67: Disability Living Allowance
Awards made “for life”

Section 71(3) of the Contributions and Benefits Act permits awards of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to be made “for life”. Life awards are made where it seem likely that a person’s entitlement to benefit will continue indefinitely.

This has led to misconceptions: many people with a life award believe that the benefit will continue even if they are no longer entitled to it. However, these life awards, like all other awards, can be reviewed and altered when there are grounds for doing so, under the powers in sections 30 and 35 of the Administration Act.

Subsections (1) and (2) remove the reference to awards for life in section 71(3) of the Act, and make it clear that DLA may be awarded either for fixed periods or for indefinite periods, subject to review—but that entitlement only applies while the person satisfies the conditions of entitlement. Section 66 of this Act makes similar provision for awards of Attendance Allowance for the terminally ill.

Entitlement to the higher-rate mobility component of DLA

The rules for entitlement to the higher rate mobility component of DLA are in section 73 of the Contributions and Benefits Act. Currently, under section 73(1), children must reach the age of 5 before they can become eligible.

Subsection (3) extends eligibility to the higher rate mobility component to severely disabled 3 and 4 year-olds, in recognition that they can encounter serious mobility problems.

The rules governing eligibility to the lower rate mobility component will not be affected, and this will continue to be available to children on reaching the age of 5.

The subsection inserts a new section 73(1A) in the Contributions and Benefits Act, to provide for children aged 3 and over to qualify for the higher rate mobility component if they satisfy the eligibility requirements, and to draw a distinction on grounds of age between eligibility to the higher and lower rates of the mobility component.

Subsection (4) ensures that the extended eligibility does not affect awards made before the date when subsection (3) comes into force.

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