Claiming High Rate Mobility (HRM) DLA Under Virtually Unable To Walk (VUW) Criteria

This is a guide to try and help you successfully claim HRM for your child under VUW criteria if you think that this is applicable to your case.  Please be aware that these criteria are very strict and the DWP are notorious for making it difficult to claim under them.  (Please note we have no training in legal or disability matters, so this is purely based on our own experience and research - we’re just very determined and persistent parents!)

This information is based on "DMG Chapter 61" which is the Decision Makers Guide that the person assessing your case will use to make their decision.  It's 137 pages long, but much of it will not be relevant to you, I'll highlight the bits that you need.  You can download it here:

We also used “Medical Guidance for DLA and AA Decision Makers (child cases): Staff Guide” which DMG Ch 61 refers to.  Again this is a long document (964 pages!), but I'll highlight the bits that you actually need.  The person assessing your claim will not be a medical expert and this document contains the information about your child's condition that they will use to help them make their decision.  Download it here:

First off, page 58 of DMG 61 states “The information given on the claim form alone is unlikely to be enough for the DM to determine a case under DMG 61351 or DMG 61376…. Further evidence may be needed from specialists via Medical Services before the DM can decide the question.”  In short, this basically means that in order to be successful in claiming under these criteria you’re going to need quite a bit of supporting evidence from specialists, don’t expect to be successful without it.

It’s important to try and get your supporting evidence to use the DLA’s terminology wherever possible so there is no ambiguity as to whether your child meets the criteria or not.

The following flowchart is widely circulated on social media (we've reproduced it word for word as the chart taken from the DMG is not the best quality).  It's taken from DMG 61 (page 48) and it's really useful, but there's a lot of extra information contained in DMG 61 which you'll need to consider to claim successfully.

When filling in the application form for DLA, I would recommend writing a detailed letter based on the above flowchart.  Either do this in the "More Information" section on page 37 or attach it as an additional sheet.  Address each point in turn, detailing how your child satisfies each individual point and setting out which bit of supporting evidence (quote the report and state which document and paragraph you have taken the quote from) you have supplied shows that they satisfy this point.  Reference DMG 61 and the DLA Medical Guidance Notes and site DLA Case Law where applicable.  Basically you're doing the assessors job for them and making it difficult for them not to award HRM.

Virtually Unable to Walk (VUW). (DMG 61 Page 37-48)

Our son has an official Autism diagnosis and refuses to walk when not in our house.  He will not go in a buggy, shopping trolley etc and insists on being carried everywhere.  If we do not do this he will have a meltdown.  The following is based on this, but you should be able to adapt it to your circumstances.

P38 DMG 61 - “61280 The differences between mental and physical disability may not always be obvious but are distinctive. To count towards virtually unable to walk, a person’s disability must be physical. Any limitation in a person’s ability to walk must be because of a physical disablement not merely a physical manifestation of the person’s mental condition. Further guidance is available in the Children and Adult Medical Guidance.”

As per “Medical Guidance for DLA Decision Makers” “Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are neuro-developmental disorders (impairment of the growth and development of the brain or central nervous system)”.  DLA case law recognises Autism as a physical disability of the brain.

As per CDLA/1678/97 “it was presently accepted that the condition (Autism) had a physical cause, in that it was a disorder of brain development” (also supported by CDLA/2288/2007) 


CSDLA/894/01 “limitations on walking ability resulting from autism are to be regarded as due to physical disablement because autism is due to a chromosomal abnormality”

P42 DMG 61 - “61309 If a stop is the absolute limit of the claimant’s capacity to walk then no issue of taking the test only to the first onset of severe discomfort arises.“

P39 DMG 61 - “61290 People with behavioural problems often refuse to walk. Although most behavioural problems result from a mental disability, they can be the result of a reaction to a physical condition over which the person has no control. For example, children with Down’s syndrome may be virtually unable to walk or they may refuse to walk despite coaxing. But this does not mean that all people with Down’s syndrome are virtually unable to walk.

61291 The question the DM should consider is whether the person could not walk, rather than would not walk. 

The DM should consider both good and bad days and take a common sense approach, having regard to the proportion of good and bad days and the claimant’s behaviour on each type of day.”

P40 DMG 61 - “61293 Example 2. Fraser is autistic. There is evidence that his autism has a physical cause. On occasions he suffers from temporary paralysis. There is evidence that Fraser has more bad days than good days. On the bad days he is unable to walk; on the good days he can walk only very short distances with difficulty. Fraser satisfies the test.”

If you're thinking of researching some DLA case law related to your claim, these are some good websites to start with:

You can download a fact sheet containing all this information here: DLA HRM VUW Criteria