Last month three judges of the Upper Tribunal ruled that a mother had the right to claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) on behalf of her ten year old son because he is dyslexic. This is a landmark decision and gives clear guidance of the evidence needed for future applications from dyslexic people to receive DLA. The decision states that dyslexia is a condition which entitles people to DLA provided that the statutory tests for either the care or mobility components of the DLA are met.
In previous cases, there have been contrary decisions by single judges in the Upper Tribunal. In 2006 and 2010 Judge May said that dyslexia was an educational disability and therefore the responsibility of the education system and not of the DLA. Whereas, Judge Japp, also in 2006, decided that dyslexia was indeed a disability that qualified for the DLA. However, now three judges of the Upper Tribunal have ruled that dyslexia is a “bodily function” that brings the condition into the sphere of the DLA.
For a dyslexic person to claim DLA, the statutory requirements have to be met in relation to care or mobility which can be assessed at different levels. In relation to the care component, the extra attention which is “reasonably required” by a dyslexic person at home and even at school must be taken into account. In relation to the mobility component, the ability of the dyslexic person to read signs, appreciate risks and dangers, have a sense of direction and an ability to return to a given place should all be considered.
The level of the allowance for the mother and her ten year old boy is still to be decided following an assessment of the boy’s needs. DLA will continue for children under the age of 16 but for those aged 16 to 64 it will change in April to Personal Independence Payment.