Do you have an illness or disability that means you need extra help at home? If so, you might be able to get a benefit called Attendance Allowance.
Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people over State Pension age who need help with personal care or supervision by day or someone to watch over them by night, because of illness or disability
How much could I get?
|Rate||Amount per week||Who gets this?|
|Lower Rate||£57.30||You need help during the day or at night|
|Higher Rate||£85.60||You need help during the day and at night, or you’re terminally ill|
These rates apply from April 2019 to April 2020. It is usually paid every 4 weeks.
How could Attendance Allowance help me?
A little extra money can go a long way. You can use it in any way you like to meet your needs and stay independent in your own home. The money doesn’t have to be spent on a carer.
There are some other upsides to Attendance Allowance too:
- Claiming Attendance Allowance won’t reduce any other income you receive.
- It’s tax-free.
- If you’re awarded Attendance Allowance, you may become entitled to other benefits, such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction, or an increase in these benefits if you’re already receiving them.
- Attendance Allowance isn’t means-tested so it doesn’t matter how much income and savings you have.
Am I eligible to claim Attendance Allowance?
You can claim Attendance Allowance if you meet all the following criteria:
- are over State Pension age (if you haven’t reached it, you may be eligible for Personal Independence Payment instead)
- could benefit from help with personal care, such as getting washed or dressed, or supervision to keep you safe during the day or night
- have any type of disability or illness, including sight or hearing impairments, or mental health issues such as dementia
- have needed help for at least 6 months. (If you’re terminally ill you can make a claim straight away.
Some people miss out on Attendance Allowance because they mistakenly believe they don’t qualify or are put off by the claims’ process.
Do any of these apply to you?
- ‘My claim was turned down’
Your circumstances may have changed since the last time you applied, especially if it was a while ago. If your care needs have increased, you may find you’re now eligible.
- ‘My income’s too high’
It is assessed purely on your disability or health condition and your care or supervision needs. It isn’t means-tested so it doesn’t matter what you earn or how much you have in savings.
- ‘I can get by without it’
You’ve paid into the tax system all your life. Now it’s time to get something back. Think about what support or equipment might help you to carry on living independently at home for longer.
- ‘I don’t want a carer coming in’
You don’t have to spend Attendance Allowance on a carer. Many older people spend it on other types of help in the home, or equipment to help them stay independent.
- ‘I don’t have a carer’
You don’t need to have a carer or someone looking after you. You qualify based on the help you need, not the help you actually get.
- ‘The claim form’s too long’
How do I claim Attendance Allowance?
- Get a claim form by calling the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0800 731 0122 (textphone: 0800 731 0317), you can download a claim form from the GOV UK website here.
Fill in the form. Be really clear about how your illness or disability affects your life and don’t underestimate your needs.
If you need any help filling in the form ask Age UK North Tyneside if they can help you so as to increase your chances of being awarded Attendance Allowance.
Tel 0191 2808484 option 1 https://www.ageuk.org.uk/northtyneside/our-services/information-and-advice/
Before you send it in, don’t forget to attach any supporting information, such as GP letters, your care plan, or prescription lists.
Send in the form to the address on the form or submit it online.
The Department for Work and Pensions may contact you to ask for more information or arrange for a doctor to visit. It’s a good idea to prepare for that visit by writing things down that you would want the doctor to know about.
You will get a letter with the decision on whether or not you’ll get Attendance Allowance, how much, and from what date.
If you’re not happy with the outcome, you can appeal.
Tips to help with the Attendance Allowance claim form
Don’t leave things out, even if you feel you can manage well enough.
Describe any accidents or falls you’ve had.
Explain the effects of all your disabilities and health conditions, and how they interact with each other.
List things that you struggle to do unaided, even if you’ve developed ways to cope.
If an activity takes you much longer than it would somebody without a disability, or if it’s difficult to do safely, include this too.
Say if you need reminding or encouraging to do things, as this also counts as help.
Focus on how frequently you need help. For example, if you need help looking after your appearance, this could add up to six or seven times a day, if you include help to check your clothes are clean after a meal, help to find a coat and matching shoes, and so on.
Give plenty of information in your own words about your personal circumstances. Don’t worry if you need to repeat yourself.
Bear in mind that Attendance Allowance doesn’t usually take into account problems with housework, cooking, shopping and gardening.
For further advice and support contact your local Age UK Information and Advice Team
Tel 0191 2808484 Option 1 https://www.ageuk.org.uk/northtyneside/our-services/information-and-advice/