What is Attendance Allowance?
Attendance Allowance is a non-means tested benefit (explained below), paid to eligible older people who are living with a demonstrable care need. You may be able to demonstrate that you have care needs if you need help with basic daily activities such as getting dressed, going to the toilet or having someone to look after you so you do not hurt yourself. In some cases it can even include help you may need outside of your home. Importantly it is not essential that you have someone provide regular assistance in order to qualify you just need to be able to prove that you have the need.
How much is Attendance Allowance?
Attendance Allowance is paid by the government at 2 different rates:
Every year the amount paid will be reviewed by the government and revised up or down as appropriate, normally this means an increase based upon the government inflation measurements but other factors may also be included.
The current rates as of 5th February 2019 are as follows:
Attendance Allowance rates
Rate Level of help you need
Lower rate – £57.30 Frequent help or constant supervision during the day, or supervision at night
Higher rate – £85.60 Help or supervision throughout both day and night, or you’re terminally ill
You can quickly check to see if these rates have changed with a simple Google search or visit to the appropriate government website.
Am I eligible for Attendance Allowance?
There are a number of eligibility factors that will decide whether you are entitled to Attendance Allowance.
Financial factors: This is a non-means tested allowance, that means your income, property, savings or other investments are not taking into consideration when deciding your entitlement.
Age: In order to receive this allowance you must be of State Pension Age.
Need: in order to be eligible for this benefit the following needs must apply to you:
- You have a physical disability (including sensory disability, for example 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
- You have needed that help for at least 6 months (unless you’re terminally ill)
Nationality Requirements: Eligibility for Attendance Allowance also has a number of resident requirement:
- be in Great Britain when you claim – there are some exceptions, such as members and family members of the Armed Forces
- have been in Great Britain for at least 2 of the last 3 years (this does not apply if you’re a refugee or have humanitarian protection status)
- 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)
How do you claim it?
Like all government benefits there is a daunting feeling form to complete in order to prove your eligibility. It is over 30 pages long and can feel a bit scary! But try not to be scared, although it is quite long and detailed many of the pages just need a tick or two in the appropriate boxes and a small amount of supporting text to show the assessor what your true needs are. It is much easier than you think it is.
The form can be found by clicking on Attendance Allowance Form. There are also extensive instructions and advice on how to complete it, you can either print it off and write in the boxes or type directly onto the form and then print it for signing and posting. Whichever is best for you!
The best bit of advice about Attendance Allowance is don’t delay, the longer you wait the longer you go without the additional income. Get someone to help you fill the form in, they can asking you questions and type in your answers.
You must be honest, benefits fraud is a serious crime and people should not claim for benefits they are not entitled to. But, you must also be mindful what you are trying to achieve when completing the form. You are trying to prove that you have a long-term care need in order to receive an entitled financial benefit. So be honest yes but also be realistic.
If you really do need help say so, people sometimes have a tendency to look on the bright side and put the most positive spin on the care they need. The form is confidential, if you need help getting to the toilet then say so!
Can you keep it if you move into a care home?
There is a lot of confusion as to whether you can claim Attendance Allowance if you live in a care home. The rules are very simple and easy to understand.
If you receive state funding to pay for your care then in most circumstances this benefit is used to pay for part of your care fees and you are no-longer entitled to receive it. There are some variances on this so speak to a financial advisor if you are unsure.
If you pay your own care home costs then you are entitled to keep your Attendance Allowance if you already claim it before moving into a care home or indeed you can still apply for it if you already live in a care home. In this case your entitlement is based on you need not your living situation. So living in a care home does not automatically entitle you to the benefit but nor does it stop you receiving it.
To get more information you can visit the government website that deals with Attendance Allowance or speak to a qualified financial advisor a list of suitable people can be found by visiting the SOLLA website.