Attendance Allowance Guide

 
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Attendance Allowance Overview

You could get £57.30 or £85.60 a week, that’s up to £4,450 per year to help with personal care because you’re physically or mentally disabled and you’re aged 65 or over. This is called Attendance Allowance and it provides valuable financial support to those of us of pension age who need help with personal care.

It’s paid at 2 different rates and how much you get depends on the level of care that you need because of your disability. The other benefits you get can increase if you get Attendance Allowance (e.g. extra Pension Credit if you’re receiving the State Pension or Housing Tax Allowance).

What You’ll Get - Attendance Allowance Rates 2018-19

Attendance Allowance is paid weekly at 2 different rates – the one you get depends on the level of help you need:

  • £57.30 per week if you need help in the day or the night
  • £85.60 per week if you need help both in the day and at night

Additional benefit entitlement: You could get extra Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction if you get Attendance Allowance – check with the helpline or office dealing with your benefit.

How you’re paid: All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account e.g. your bank account.

Other Financial Considerations for Over 55s

In addition to claiming all of the state benefits you’re entitled to, once you or someone you’re caring for is over 50 years old, and certainly by the time you’re 65 years old, consider reviewing how the following could help you:

Long Term Care Funding

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Wills And Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

Home Equity Release Calculator See how much equity you could release from your home as a tax-free lump sum. If you or someone you’re caring for is over 55 years old, then you can use this form to see if you qualify, or use this home equity release calculator.

Receive your Attendance Allowance form Tip Sheet and our latest Guide to Care Funding

Receive tips on how to complete the Attendance Allowance form and pitfalls to avoid, and our up-to-date guide on paying for care, as well as newsletter updates on changes when they’re announced including any means-testing.

Who Is Eligible for Attendance Allowance

You can get Attendance Allowance if you’re 65 or over and the following apply:

  • You have a physical disability (including sensory disability, e.g. blindness), a mental disability (including learning difficulties), or both.
  • Your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself or someone to supervise you, for your own or someone else’s safety.

Other conditions: You must also:

  • Be in Great Britain when you claim – there are some exceptions, e.g. members and family members of the Armed Force
  • Have been in Great Britain for at least 2 of the last 3 years
  • Be habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands
  • Not be subject to immigration control (unless you’re a sponsored immigrant)

There are some exceptions to these conditions if you’re living in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.

Special rules – if you’re terminally ill There are ‘special rules’ so you get Attendance Allowance more quickly if you’re not expected to live more than 6 months. You must:

  • Include a DS1500 medical condition report or send it soon after – these are free and you can only get them from a doctor, specialist or consultant.
  • You can do this on behalf of someone else without their permission. The letter about the money awarded won’t mention ‘special rules’.

How to Claim Attendance Allowance

Use form AA1 to apply for Attendance Allowance by post. The form comes with notes telling you how to fill it in and where to send it here.

You can also get a copy of the form from the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0345 605 6055 (textphone: 0345 604 5312).

Attendance Allowance can be backdated to the date of your claim. This is usually the date your form is received or the date you call the enquiry line (if you return the claim pack within 6 weeks).

You might need an assessment to complete your application.

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“ Attendance Allowance does not cover mobility needs. ”

How to Complete the Attendance Allowance Application Form

The form is detailed and thorough so take your time to complete the form, and remember that you don’t have to complete it all in one go. Attendance Allowance is awarded based on your needs, not just on your medical condition. Many applications are turned down because people don’t mention or aren’t clear about how their illness or disability affects their lives. Don’t underestimate your needs when filling in the form. Think about all the things you can’t do, or have trouble with, because of your condition. 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, this can be taken into account. Say if you need reminding or encouraging to do things, as this also counts as help.
  • Focus on how frequently you need help. To qualify for the lower rate of Attendance Allowance, you have to show you need help ‘frequently’ during the day or at night. 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.

Receive your Attendance Allowance form Tip Sheet and our latest Guide to Care Funding

Receive tips on how to complete the Attendance Allowance form and pitfalls to avoid, and our up-to-date guide on paying for care, as well as newsletter updates on changes when they’re announced including any means-testing.

After Sending in Your Application

If you are asked for more information

Once you have returned the form, the decision maker from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may contact you, your doctor or someone you mentioned on the form to ask for more information or to arrange for a doctor to visit you. In Northern Ireland this will be a decision maker from the Social Security Agency (SSA). If a doctor appointed by the DWP or SSA comes to visit you, your carer can be with you during the appointment. The doctor may want to examine you and ask further questions. It is a good idea to make a note beforehand of the things you want to tell the doctor about.

 

Assessments

You might get a letter saying you need to attend an assessment to check your eligibility. The letter will explain why and where you must go. At the assessment, you’ll be asked for identification. You can use a passport or any 3 of the following:

  • birth certificate
  • a full driving licence
  • life assurance policy
  • bank statements

 

Appeal a decision

You can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal if you disagree with adecision. You must usually ask for ‘mandatory reconsideration’ before you appeal.

 

Complaints

You can complain to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if you’re unhappy with the service you’ve received.

 

Changes of circumstances

Your circumstances can affect how much you get, eg moving between the lower and higher rates. You must contact the Attendance Allowance helpline if your circumstances change. For example:

  • the level of help you need or your condition change
  • you go into hospital or a care home for more than 4 weeks
  • you go abroad for more than 13 weeks
  • you’re imprisoned or held in detention

You must also contact the helpline if:

  • you change your name, address or bank details
  • you want to stop receiving your benefit
  • your doctor’s details change

! You could get a £50 civil penalty (https://www.gov.uk/civil-penalty-changesaffect-benefits) and have to repay overpaid benefits if you don’t report changes and are overpaid as a result. ”

Attendance Allowance Helpline and Contact Numbers

Telephone: 0345 605 6055

Textphone: 0345 604 5312 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm Find out about call charges.

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Receive your Attendance Allowance form Tip Sheet and our latest Guide to Care Funding

Receive tips on how to complete the Attendance Allowance form and pitfalls to avoid, and our up-to-date guide on paying for care, as well as newsletter updates on changes when they’re announced including any means-testing.