Families with children under the age of three are able to claim the care component of Disability Living Allowance where the child’s care needs are substantially in excess of the needs of a child of the same age without a disability or long term health condition.
From 9 April 2001, the age condition for entitlement to the higher rate mobility component was lowered from 5 years to 3 years. In deciding to set the lower age limit, the department considered views of medical advisors and independent research; while the development of walking ability varies from child to child, by age 3 it was felt that it is realistically possible in the majority of cases to make an informed decision as to whether an inability to walk is the result of disability or long term health condition.
We do however appreciate the difficulties that some families with severely disabled children aged under 3 face particularly those whose reliance on bulky medical equipment makes transportation difficult. We have met stakeholders at both Ministerial and official level to hear their concerns first-hand, and are continuing to consider this issue. As part of this, we have been in discussion with Motability to explore options for helping this group of children. Any further progress on this matter will be announced in due course.