Attendance Allowance

About Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance is a benefit that people of State Pension age can claim if they need extra help at home resulting from a long-term illness or a disability.  People with a primary immune deficiency do not have an automatic right to claim but your personal circumstances may mean that you are entitled to it.

Claiming attendance allowance may not improve your health, but it can definitely make a big difference to your life. It can give back some of the feelings of independence that dealing with a long term health condition may have taken away – for example, you may be able to pay for help that up to now you’ve had to rely on friends and relatives for. And because you can spend your attendance allowance on anything you choose, it can also bring about a real improvement in your quality of life.

How we can help

PID UK is a professional member of the Benefits and Work organisation. This means that we can access their comprehensive guides about different benefits. Please email us at hello@piduk.org if you would like to receive the guide to claiming Attendance Allowance and we will download and send it to you. 

Claiming Attendance Allowance

You can claim Attendance Allowance if the following criteria apply:
•    You have a physical or mental disability, or both
•    Your disability is severe enough for you to need help looking after yourself or someone to supervise you, for your own or someone else’s safety
•    You have needed that help for at least six months (unless you’re terminally ill).

Quick attendance allowance test

See if you qualify for the attendance allowance by completing the quick test below.

Answer these questions first if you are not sure whether you are eligible:

1. Are you of State Pension age or over?

If yes go to question 2

If no, you cannot claim attendance allowance. However, you may be eligible for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead.

2. Has your health condition lasted at least 6 months?

If yes go to question 3

If no, you can still make a claim, but payment can only begin from the date when your condition has lasted six months. Go to question 3.

3. Do you need someone to keep an eye on you throughout the day?

If yes, you needn’t answer any more questions, it’s definitely worth filling in a claim pack.

If no, go to question 4.

4. Do you need someone awake to keep an eye on you at night, (night is 11pm to 7am) for at least 20 minutes or at least two or three times?

If yes, you needn’t answer any more questions, it’s definitely worth filling in a claim pack.

If no, go on to question 5.

5. Do you have difficulties with any of the activities below?

Answer yes if you do. (If some days you do and some days you don’t, answer yes)

  • Moving about indoors
  • Eating and drinking
  • Communication with people
  • Getting into bed at night
  • Getting to and using the toilet
  • Looking after your appearance
  • Social and leisure activities
  • Coping with confusion
  • Taking medication
  • Staying safe if you’re alone
  • Getting out of bed in the morning
  • Sleeping
  • Washing, having a bath or a shower
  • Getting dressed and undressed
  • Coping with panic or anxiety attacks
  • Coping with memory loss

Shopping and housework are not counted as everyday activities that are relevant to attendance allowance.

The sort of difficulties you might have with these activities include things like:

  • It hurts
  • You can only do it slowly
  • You can only do it using a special technique of your own
  • You need someone with you when do it just in case things go wrong
  • It’s not safe for you to do it
  • You can only do it if someone prompts or encourages you
  • You can only do it with physical help from another person
  • You can’t do it at all

If you answered yes for any of the activities, go to question 6.

If you didn’t answer yes to any it doesn’t mean you are definitely not eligible for Attendence Allowance, you should try to get advice. 

If yes, you needn’t answer any more questions, it’s definitely worth filling in a claim pack. If no, go to question 6.

6. If you got help during the day, would it need to be frequently throughout the day – in the morning, in the middle of the day and in the late afternoon/evening?

If yes, you needn’t answer any more questions, it’s definitely worth filling in a claim pack. If no, go to question 7.

7. If you got help during the night, would you need it for at least twenty minutes or at least twice a night?

If yes, it’s definitely worth filling in a claim pack. If no, it doesn’t mean you are definitely not eligible for attendance allowance, you should try to get advice.

What should I expect as a payment?

Attendance Allowance is paid weekly at two different rates. The rate you are awarded depends on the level of help you need.

Rates

The lower rate of £57.30 a week will be awarded if you need frequent help or constant supervision during the day, or supervision at night.

The higher rate of £85.60 a week will be awarded if you need help or supervision throughout the day and night, or if you’re terminally ill. 

How to start an attendance allowance claim

In order to start your claim you need a claim pack. The best way to get one is to make a call to the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0345 605 6055 (8.00 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday) and ask them to send you an AA claim pack.

Assessment and eligibility

You may need to attend an assessment to check your eligibility.

If you’re terminally ill
•    There’s no qualifying period for how long you’ve had your illness.
•    If you’re eligible, you’ll automatically get the higher rate of Attendance Allowance.
•    Ask a doctor to fill in form DS1500.

If you’re in a care home

You cannot usually get Attendance Allowance if you live in a care home and your care is paid for by your local authority.

You cannot get Attendance Allowance if you already get Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Backdating your claim

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 then return the claim pack within six weeks).

Mandatory reconsideration

If you disagree with a decision made about your claim you can ask for a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ and the decision will be looked at again. 

Other useful links

https://www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/attendance-allowance/
https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/attendance-allowance/#
https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/attendance-allowance-aa

Posted February 2019