The benefits to severely disabled people were reorganized in April 1992. The disability living allowance is divided into two parts, payable at different rates. The old mobility allowance and attendance allowance for those under 65 were incorporated into this new benefit: the mobility part has been extended and replaced mobility allowance and the care component was extended and replaced attendance allowance for those under 65 years of age.
Claimants now complete extensive self-assessment claim forms and most claims are decided without any medical examination. Decision making is by an adjudication officer, not doctors as in the past. There is a right to review by a different officer and ultimately to an independent disability appeal tribunal.
The upper age for claiming either rate of the disability living allowance mobility component is normally 65. Those who are aged 65 but who have not reached 66 are able to claim if they can show that they had met the criteria and their disability had begun on the day before their 65th birthday. You cannot claim the mobility component for the first time once you have reached the age of 66, however once entitled it can be paid for life. The same age rules apply for the care component. The entry requirement to the lower level of this allowance is the ‘cooking test’, i.e. a person is so disabled physically or mentally that they cannot prepare a cooked meal for themselves.
The rules for all the benefits are very complicated. This should not put people off from obtaining their rightful benefits as help can be obtained (from DSS or social services to help fill the forms in). In addition a rejection should not be accepted if a genuine need is present (and the assessment process was either thought to be unfair or there was a variation on the day).