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Extra tax credit payments if you're claiming DLA

Tuesday 5th May 2015


Every year the Contact a Family helpline talks to a number of parents who are missing out on at least £60 per week because they haven't told the tax credits office that their child is getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Many families simply aren't aware that their child tax credit payments are higher if you have a child on DLA. This is because you qualify for an extra payment called the disabled child element of tax credits. This is worth an extra £60 per week for each child who qualifies.


What is the disabled child element?

The disabled child element is an extra amount that is added into your child tax credits award. It is worth an extra £60 per week for each child in your family who qualifies.


Who qualifies for the disabled child element?

You should be getting a disabled child element included in your child tax credit award for each child who is either on DLA or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or who is registered blind.

If a child gets the highest rate of the DLA care component (or the daily living component of PIP at the enhanced rate) you also get a further £24 per week - a payment known as the severely disabled child element.


How much extra will I receive?

The disabled child element is worth up to £60 per week, while the severely disabled child element is worth up to £24 per week.

However, because tax credits are affected by the family income, not all families with a disabled child get these payments in full. Some will receive a smaller amount in tax credits. Other families will find their income is too high to get any tax credits despite having the extra elements added to their tax credit calculation. 

However if you already get some tax credits and your award does not currently include a disability addition, your payments will increase by the full amount once the extra element is added.  


How do I make sure that I get the disabled child element?

The problem is that the Tax Credits Office won't know that you should be getting the disabled child element unless you have told them that your child is on DLA or PIP. If you haven't already let them know, you should do this as soon as possible by telephoning them on 0345 300 3900.

Similarly if your child's existing award is increased to the highest rate of the care component (or the enhanced rate of daily living under PIP) you need to make sure you tell them in order to get the severely disabled child element.

Your tax credit decision award letters should tell you whether your award includes a disabled child and a severely disabled child element.


Are these extra elements backdated?

Once you tell the Tax Credits Office about your child's DLA or PIP award, they will increase your payments. However they will only normally backdate the extra payments for a month from the date you first tell them.

The only exception to this is if you tell Tax Credits within one month of getting the DLA/PIP decision. If you do that then the extra tax credits payments will be backdated in line with the DLA/PIP award.


Getting further advice

If you already get DLA and tax credits but aren't sure if your tax credits award includes a disabled child element call our free helpline for further advice.

If you were told in the past that your income was too high to get child tax credits, but your child got DLA at a later date, this might mean that you now have a better chance of qualifying for tax credits. Contact our free helpline to get this checked by our advisers.


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