Charity shares new Attendance Allowance tips to help older people get up to £434 each month

Independent Age is encouraging older people with a disability or long-term health condition to check if they could be eligible for Attendance Allowance. A successful claim for the non-means-tested, tax-free benefit is worth either £72.65 or £108.55 each week - the level of award depends on the amount of support someone needs.

Payments are made every four weeks and work out at £290.60 or £434.20 respectively. A little extra money can go a long way and you can use it however you like to meet your needs and help you stay independent in your own home longer - the money doesn’t have to be spent on a carer.

Fran McSweeney, Head of National Services at Independent Age, presents two videos aimed at breaking down barriers to claiming and covers things to do before starting the long application form such as keeping a daily diary, taking your time answering the questions, especially as some may seem to be asking the same thing.

In the video ‘Applying for Attendance Allowance’, Fran explains: “The Attendance Allowance form is long and you might feel like you’re repeating yourself because there’s lots of questions. It can also take an awful long time to fill in, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time and get yourself comfortable before you fill it in.”

Older people, or family members, who think they might be eligible can also use the factsheet on the Independent Age website here, or call the charity directly on 0800 319 6789 to get help or more information. Phone lines are open from 830am to 530pm, Monday to Friday.

Watch the Attendance Allowance videos from Independent Age:

Tips for filling in Attendance Allowance application form

Independent Age explains: “The decision maker will use your claim form to work out whether you qualify for Attendance Allowance, so it’s important to give as much detail as possible.”

They suggest anyone filling in the form should:

  • Explain how your condition affects your day-to-day life and what personal tasks you have difficulties with

  • Answer all the questions if you can and give examples

  • Include the time it takes you to carry out specific tasks and how much help you need with them, even if there’s no one to help you

  • Explain how your needs change and how bad your difficulties can be if some days are better than others

  • Mention any things you avoid doing because they’re difficult for you – for example, if it’s difficult bending and reaching to put on and take off socks, even while you’re sitting down

  • Explain what happens when you don’t receive the care you need, especially if this has left you at risk of falls or struggling to manage

  • Send supporting information if you're able to - for example, from your carer, GP or consultant.

The latest figures from the DWP show that in November 2023, there were 1,571,519 people across Great Britain claiming the benefit, including 140,716 living in Scotland.

Below is a quick guide to the benefit to help you decide if you - or a family member - should make a claim.

What is Attendance Allowance?

Attendance Allowance helps with extra costs if you have a disability, physical or mental health condition, or illness severe enough that it makes it hard for you to look after yourself - it does not cover mobility needs.

You do not need to have someone caring for you in order to make a claim.

Who can claim?

You should apply for Attendance Allowance if you have a disability or illness and need help or supervision throughout the day or at times during the night -even if you don’t currently get that help.

This might include:

  • Help with your personal care - for example getting dressed, eating or drinking, getting in and out of bed, bathing or showering and going to the toilet

  • Help to stay safe

You should also apply if you have difficulties with personal tasks, for example if they take you a long time, you experience pain or you need physical help, like a chair to lean on. Attendance Allowance isn’t just for people with a physical disability or illness.

You should also claim if you need help or supervision throughout the day or night and have:

  • a mental health condition

  • learning difficulties

  • a sensory condition - if you are deaf or visually impaired

Attendance Allowance main disabling conditions

Medical conditions are sourced from information recorded on the DWP’s Attendance Allowance computer system. The DWP says where more than one condition is present the main disabling condition is reported on.

It’s important to note this list is not a checklist for claiming Attendance Allowance, it is intended to help people understand what type of conditions are being supported. However, if you need extra support during the day or night due to a long-term illness, disability or health condition, you should check out the official eligibility guidance on the GOV.UK website here.

  • Arthritis

  • Spondylosis

  • Back Pain

  • Disease Of The Muscles, Bones or Joints

  • Trauma to Limbs

  • Visual Disorders and Diseases

  • Hearing Disorders

  • Heart Disease

  • Respiratory Disorders and Diseases

  • Asthma

  • Cystic Fibrosis

  • Cerebrovascular Disease

  • Peripheral vascular Disease

  • Epilepsy

  • Neurological Diseases

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Parkinsons Disease

  • Motor Neurone Disease

  • Chronic Pain Syndromes

  • Diabetes Mellitus

  • Metabolic Disease

  • Traumatic Paraplegia/Tetraplegia

  • Major Trauma Other than Traumatic Paraplegia/Tetraplegia

  • Learning Difficulties

  • Psychosis

  • Psychoneurosis

  • Personality Disorder

  • Dementia

  • Behavioural Disorder

  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse

  • Hyperkinetic Syndrome

  • Renal Disorders

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease

  • Bowel and Stomach Disease

  • Blood Disorders

  • Haemophilia

  • Multi System Disorders

  • Multiple Allergy Syndrome

  • Skin Disease

  • Malignant Disease

  • Severely Mentally impaired

  • Double Amputee

  • Deaf/Blind

  • Haemodialysis

  • Frailty

  • Total Parenteral Nutrition

  • AIDS

  • Infectious diseases: Viral disease - Coronavirus covid-19

Attendance Allowance is also supporting 43,295 people with a terminal illness.

An older man is studying a form in front of him
Independent Age simple guides and videos aim to help people through the application process. -Credit:Getty Images

How much could I get on Attendance Allowance?

You could receive £72.65 if you need help during the day or at night or £108.55 if you need help during the day and at night, or if you are terminally ill. The benefit is paid every four weeks , which means you could receive either £290.60 or £434.20 every pay period.

You can spend the money however you like and it could help you stay independent in your own home for longer.

This might include:

  • paying for taxis

  • helping towards bills

  • paying for a cleaner or gardener

Can I claim Attendance Allowance even if I have savings and other income?

Yes. Attendance Allowance isn't means-tested so it doesn't matter what other money you have coming in or how much you have in savings either - there's no limit. it is also tax-free and you will be exempt from the Benefit Cap so you won't have money taken away from any other benefits.

Will Attendance Allowance affect my State Pension?

No, it won't affect your State Pension and you can even claim it if you're still working and earning money.

How does Attendance Allowance affect other benefits?

The other benefits you get might increase if you get Attendance Allowance, these include:

  • Extra Pension Credit

  • Housing Benefit Reduction

  • Council Tax Reduction

How do I make a claim?

You will need to complete a long claim form when you apply for Attendance Allowance. It might seem daunting at first but help is available from your nearest Citizens Advice, so don't let the form put you off applying.

If you'd prefer to do it yourself you can follow the Citizens Advice guide on how to fill in your claim form here. Full details of how to get the application form by post or over the phone can be found on the GOV.UK website here.

What happens if I am about to reach State Pension age?

If you are thinking about applying for Attendance Allowance when you reach State Pension age, you might be better off claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) straight away - you may be able to get more money.

Who cannot claim Attendance Allowance?

You won't be able to get Attendance Allowance if you already get PIP or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to pay for your care. If you apply for Attendance Allowance while getting DLA, the DWP will usually reassess your DLA award instead.

You can renew your PIP or DLA when the existing award ends as long as you still meet the eligibility criteria. If your renewal is unsuccessful you can apply for Attendance Allowance instead.

Find out more about Attendance Allowance on the GOV.UK website here.

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