If you can’t manage your diabetes without insulin, another medication or treatment, it is classed as a disability when applying for benefits.
Diabetes and disability benefits
Parents and carers of children with diabetes and some people with diabetes may be able to claim a disability benefit – see the different disability benefits on gov.uk.
Not everyone with diabetes who takes insulin or medication is eligible for a disability benefit.
It’s not the type of diabetes you have that matters in benefit terms, but the level of care you need day to day to do tasks or get around – or are providing if you’re a carer.
Here at Diabetes UK, we cannot tell you if you are eligible for a benefit – or help with benefit problems. But we signpost to information that you can read to help you decide if you think you have a claim – and how to proceed. If you need help to decide or make a claim, use the find an advisor tool from turn2us.
We know diabetes is a serious condition that requires careful self-management every day and access to benefits can be vital for people at all stages of the condition.
This isn’t always easy and the system can be difficult to navigate. For example, some benefit applications currently rejected are then overturned on appeal or at tribunal, which causes additional stress and delay to people.
Finding out if you're eligible for disability benefit
One way to find out what disability benefit you or someone you’re supporting may be able to claim, is to use the turn2us benefit calculator. Tick ‘yes’ for the question – do you consider yourself (or them) to have a disability? – and it should signpost to information about any relevant benefit, where to apply, and how to get help to apply.
You can also read our information on the two main disability benefits below – and follow the links – to decide if you may be eligible. The money is tax free and is not means tested – so you can still be working or have savings.
As the parent or the main carer of a child with diabetes, you’re likely to be helping or supervising your child at different times of the day or night.
If you’re in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you can claim DLA for children under 16. If you’re in Scotland, the benefit is called Child Disability Payment and it can be claimed for children under 18.
You and your child will not need to have an assessment by a healthcare professional as part of your claim.
Making a claim for DLA for children
If you decide to apply for DLA or Child Disability Payment, you must wait until three months after your child’s diabetes diagnosis before sending in or submitting your claim form.
The information below applies to people living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If you live in Scotland and are applying for Child Disability Payment, the form is different but you may find the section below useful. For Child Disability Payment, you can prepare by reading sample questions from the application form.
To help you prepare your answers, start gathering information straight away. Keep a diary and write down everything you do in relation to your child’s diabetes and any extra costs.This can be helpful when you come to fill in the form to make sure you don’t forget anything.
Care you provide
Include every single detail, such as calibrating test strips, changing lancets, disposing of sharps appropriately and any distress or resistance from your child.
This can help you spot what your child does for themselves and what care they need from someone else.
Examples of extra costs for looking after a child with diabetes
Extra costs might include items like books and resources for counting carbs and things that help with diabetes tech that don’t come on prescription like patches to keep sensors in place or cream to soothe sore skin. There’s also extra transport costs for getting to and from appointments, and unpaid time needed off work to help school manage diabetes.
Ask someone else who provides care if they'll fill out part of the form
Who is most involved in your child's care at home or outside the home apart from you? Ask them if they'll agree to fill in the additional information part of the DLA form. They need to understand the difficulties your child faces with their diabetes and be able to say how the child's condition affects their daily living and about any support they may provide for the child. So it might be a healthcare professional, teacher, social worker or someone else who helps support your child at home, school or elsewhere.
You can also ask anyone else involved in your child's day to day care such as relatives or babysitters or other school staff to give you a short statement detailing the care they provide which might be useful when you come to fill in the form.
Remember that DLA is paid to you for the care your child needs from you or others, so detail the times your child needs help rather than how they themselves manage their diabetes. For example, your child may monitor their blood glucose themselves most of the time. However, they may need someone else to do this when they are having a hypo, during the night, or they may need prompting to do this. It is this support from someone else that needs to be written down.
Read the notes on filling in the application form
It can be tempting to not read the notes on how to fill out the DLA claim form. They are long and it takes time. However, doing so will help you to understand what information the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are looking for and the sort of language they use
Video tips and question-by-question guidance for filling in the DLA form
Use the tips on filling in the DLA form provided by the Contact, the charity for families with disabled children. The information is relevant to people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
How to claim DLA or Child Disability Payment
Find out how to make the DLA or Child Disability claim and where to get the form on the gov.uk website for your part of the UK.
"What made it easier to apply was being able to do it online. So you can save the form and go back to it."
If the benefit is awarded, it will start from the date your form is received - or the date you call the enquiry line for a claim form if you fill it in and send it back within six weeks. It usually takes about eight weeks for your form to be processed.
How much money you get wherever you are in the UK will depend on the level of extra care you provide for your child at different times of the day and night compared with caring for a child without diabetes. The money is paid to the parent or the carer.
If your claim is turned down or you don’t get the level of benefit you think you’re eligible for, you’ll be told how to challenge the decision.
Search for information about challenging a decision and where to get help with a challenge from Citizens Advice for your part of the UK.
If you are awarded DLA or the Child Disability Payment - and/or other benefits you may be entitled to free childcare. Check what help you could get with childcare costs on the GOV.UK website.
What happens to DLA or Child Disability Payment when your child becomes an adult?
Before your child reaches the age of 16 (18 in Scotland), they should get a letter letting them know that the benefit will be coming to an end and inviting them to apply for Personal Independent Payment instead (although there are no guarantees they will get this).
If you have diabetes and are aged 16 and over (18 in Scotland) and it affects your ability to do daily tasks or to get around, and you need extra help, you may be eligible for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which has replaced Disability Living Allowance for adults. In Scotland, PIP is starting to be replaced by Adult Disability Payment so check the latest guidance on the page to check which benefit to apply for. The eligibility rules stay the same.
Deciding if you're eligible
We know that it can be difficult for people with diabetes to get Personal Independent Benefit (PIP) or an equivalent benefit.
So the important thing is to read the guidance on eligibility for PIP before deciding whether to apply. Have a look at the Citizens’ Advice guide to PIP and Disability Rights UK's PIP guide. The Benefit and Works website also has lots of information on PIP – including an online questionnaire you can complete to help you decide if you might be eligible. (This service is free, but if you want additional guides or information, the annual subscription is £20).
It’s worth knowing that if you put in a claim for PIP, you usually have an assessment by a healthcare professional as part of your claim.
Our online forum is a useful place for finding out about others’ experience of claiming disability benefit or sharing your own experience.
How to claim
If your claim is turned down or you don’t get the level of benefit you think you should get, you’ll be told how to appeal.
The Citizens’ Advice website has information on PIP appeals.
If you’re caring for someone with diabetes who has a disability benefit or another benefit or Disability Living Allowance for children, you may also be able to claim Carers’ Allowance. But you’ll need to be providing more than 35 hours care a week. Find out more about Carers’ Allowance eligibility on the gov.uk website.
Getting help with benefit queries
Our helpline can’t provide advice on benefits or answer specific benefit queries, but the Scope helpline can. Call 0808 800 3333.
Share your feedback on this page
If there's any information you'd like to see on this page that's not included please get in touch at email@example.com. If you have been able to claim Personal Independence Payment or Adult Disability Payment for your diabetes we'd also like to hear from you.