Attendance allowance is a weekly benefit provided in the UK to those who need help due to an illness or disability. It is provided by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
Although it is a financial benefit, it is not means-tested.
This guide will cover how to claim attendance allowance and who is eligible to claim.
Here’s a summary of what we cover in the article:
- Attendance allowance provides financial support for those over the state pension age with an illness or disability that they require help with.
- Depending on the level of need, recipients receive weekly payments of £68.10 at the lower end or up to £101.75 at the higher end.
- There is usually no assessment process to claim attendance allowance.
- Attendance allowance can be spent on whatever is needed to help the person receiving it stay independent and comfortable while they can.
What is attendance allowance?
Attendance allowance is a type of benefit given to people above the state pension age, who need help due to an ongoing illness or disability.
The extra financial support provided by the benefit can be spent on whatever is necessary to keep the individual independent and comfortable for as long as possible.
There are two bands of payment that correspond to your level of need.
- Lower band offers £68.10 a week, which covers supervision during either the day or the night.
- Higher band offers up to £101.75 a week which allows for supervision throughout the day and night.
Those who are terminally ill are also eligible to claim attendance allowance at the higher rate.
There are a number of special rules which allow for benefits to be sent quickly and discreetly.
Attendance Allowance Helpline
Telephone: 0800 731 0122
Textphone: 0800 731 0317
Who is eligible for attendance allowance?
You must be above the state pension age to make a claim for attendance allowance.
In the UK, the state pension age is currently 66. However, the age bar is set to rise to 68 for those born after 1977 between the years 2044 and 2046.
In order to claim attendance allowance, you will first have to prove your eligibility for a state pension, as well as provide some kind of proof of your illness or disability and how it affects your life.
Unlike many other benefits in the UK, attendance allowance is not means-tested. This means that the benefits office doesn't look at your financial situation when you make a claim.
Instead, your ability to claim attendance allowance depends on the severity of your illness or disability and how it impacts your life.
You are eligible to claim attendance allowance if you are above the state pension age and are affected by one or more of the following categories:
Illness or disability
You have an illness or disability which requires care or supervision. This means you need help with the following activities:
- Personal care such as washing, dressing and using the toilet.
- Communication issues
- Cooking, eating and diet
- Supervision to prevent you putting yourself or others in danger
- Supervision when on dialysis
You can claim attendance allowance after you have had care at home for at least six months due to your illness or disability.
Not everybody who receives or is in need of care will be able to claim an attendance allowance.
It is important to note that you cannot usually claim attendance allowance if you live in a care home and your care costs are paid by your local authority.
However, it is still possible to claim attendance allowance if you pay for all your care home costs yourself.
If you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness it is not necessary to wait for six months to prove your ongoing care status.
Special rules apply to those who are terminally ill due to the severity and time frame of the illness.
You can receive the higher rate of attendance allowance immediately without having to prove your care status.
Note that you can apply for attendance allowance for someone with a terminal illness without their permission. The letter about the money awarded will not mention eligibility via any special rules.
How to claim attendance allowance
Generally, there is no assessment process for claiming attendance allowance.
Instead, you or someone on your behalf must fill out a form and send it to the Department of Work and Pensions.
You can ask for a form to be sent to you. This is so your payments can be backdated from the date you called.
Please ensure that you send your completed form within six weeks of your initial contact.
Information required to claim
Some of the info required on the form includes:
- An overview of your care needs
- Your illness or disability, including how long you have had it
- Any prescription medicines that you take, info on time spent in hospital
- Anyone that helps you with your illness or disability
- Where you live – such as what kind of property it is and where the bathroom is located
- Aids or adaptations that you use every day
- Details of your GP
- Your contact and payment details
What else will you need to provide?
The form also has an option to provide a statement from somebody who knows you and your difficulties.
You may need to send in copies of certain documents. These could include,
- Prescription list
- Medical certificates
- Care plan
Do not send any original documents that you might need in the future, as the DWP are unable to return them to you.
In the case of applying as or for someone with a terminal illness, the form should be filled out as directed.
Speak to a doctor
You must also ask a doctor or healthcare professional for a DS1500 form. They will either fill it in and give the form to you or send it directly to DWP.
Once you have completed the form, it is important to check it over for mistakes.
Any mistakes could delay your payments. When it’s ready to go, send the form to: Freepost, DWP Attendance Allowance
You don’t need a postcode or a stamp.
Once you’ve made your claim
You should get a decision letter from the DWP within six weeks.
This letter will tell you whether or not you will be able to claim Attendance Allowance.
It will also confirm how much you’ll get and how long your Attendance Allowance will last for.
If you haven’t received a decision letter after eight weeks, you should call the Attendance Allowance helpline for an update.
When your claim has been processed, you should start receiving payments dated from the day of your call.
The government recommends that you should inform the service if your circumstances change, as it could affect the payment amount you receive.
Changes to circumstances include:
- The event of your condition improving or worsening
- Admission to hospital or a care home
- You leave the country for more that four weeks
- Changes to name, address or bank details
- You spend time in prison
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