There are several different benefits available to those over the age of 65 in the UK. Attendance Allowance is perhaps one of the least widely-known, but could be incredibly useful to people who qualify. With this in mind, we're sharing our detailed guide to Attendance Allowance. This article will discuss the criteria for claiming, how much you can claim, and the other benefits you might also be entitled to.
What Is Attendance Allowance?
Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people who require help or supervision as a result of a physical or mental disability. Unlike many other benefits, Attendance Allowance is not means-tested. This means it is available to anyone who meets the criteria, regardless of income. Furthermore, the amount you earn or have in savings will not affect how much you receive.
Who Is Eligible For Attendance Allowance?
In order to qualify for Attendance Allowance, you must have reached State Pension Age. If you aren't sure whether this applies to you, use the government's State Pension Age calculator. Besides, you will need to meet the following criteria:
- You have a physical and/or mental disability.
- This disability is severe enough that you need help caring for yourself or supervision for your own/someone else's safety.
- You have needed that help for at least 6 months.
- You currently live in the UK, and have done for at least 2 of the last 3 years.
There are some slightly different rules for those with terminal illnesses: most importantly, the 6 month qualifying period does not apply.
How Much Could You Claim?
There are two different rates of Attendance Allowance. Which one you receive will depend on how much help you require. This will be determined via an assessment.
- Lower rate: for those who need frequent help during the day or at night.
- Higher rate: for those who need frequent help throughout the day and night.
You don't necessarily need to have a carer coming in already in order to qualify. The assessor just needs to see that you would benefit from assistance with certain tasks. This includes things like washing, eating, getting dressed, getting in and out of a chair etc.
Those who qualify for the lower rate of Attendance Allowance will receive £61.85 per week.
Those who qualify for the higher rate of Attendance Allowance will receive £92.40 per week.
It's important to note that this is a tax-free benefit - in other words, you do not have to count this money among your taxable income when doing any tax calculations.
How To Claim Attendance Allowance
If you are a resident of England, Wales, or Scotland, call the Attendance Allowance Helpline on 0800 731 0122 (textphone 0800 731 0317).
If you are a resident of Northern Ireland, contact the Disability and Carers Service on 0800 587 0912 (textphone: 0800 012 1574).
Once you submit your form, the relevant people will contact you to arrange your assessment.
Other Benefits You Could Be Entitled To
If your Attendance Allowance application is successful and you or your partner are already receiving means-tested benefits or tax credits, you should notify any offices which pay them to you. This is because you may be entitled to an increase in other benefits, or some entirely new benefits.
These other benefits include:
- Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Reduction
- And several others.
Receiving and Spending Your Attendance Allowance
If your application is successful, your Attendance Allowance will be paid straight into your bank account every 4 weeks.
You might assume that you are required to spend your weekly Attendance Allowance on hiring a carer. However, this is not the case! You are free to use the money however you see fit. If you don't want a carer coming into your home, you could put your Attendance Allowance towards a mobility aid or other helpful equipment, for example.
Consider a Lifeline Alarm
If you make a claim for Attendance Allowance, why not put it towards a Lifeline personal alarm? Our life-saving system is perfect for those with disabilities and long-term medical conditions, because it lets you call for assistance whenever you need it. If you ever have a fall, feel unwell, or are at all concerned for your safety, you would simply need to press your pendant button. Our 24/7 Response Team would answer your call within seconds and send help directly to you. What's more, we pride ourselves on providing a platinum service at an affordable price; the lower rate of Attendance Allowance would cover the cost of a Lifeline Pendant Alarm with plenty to spare!
For more information, read our quick guide to the Lifeline alarm service or give us a call on 0800 999 0400. Our friendly Customer Service advisors will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
You can also order your new personal alarm online today.
Editor's Note: This article was updated on 15th November 2021 to reflect current information.