Who can claim it?
You may qualify for Attendance Allowance if you:
- are over State Pension age. You can find out your State Pension age on Gov.uk
- have a long-term physical or mental illness or disability. This can include sensory conditions such as sight and hearing loss, mental health issues and cognitive impairments such as dementia
- have needed help with personal care or regular supervision from someone else for at least six months. You can claim whether or not you actually receive this help or supervision. Personal care tasks could include things like washing and bathing, dressing and undressing, getting in or out of bed, and taking medication.
If you're terminally ill, you can claim Attendance Allowance straightaway.
For a full list of personal care activities, see our factsheet on Attendance Allowance.
How much is it worth?
Attendance Allowance (AA) is paid at two different rates, depending on the level of care you need:
|If you need care or supervision during the day or night||Lower rate – £60.00 per week|
|If you need care or supervision during both the day and night, or if you're terminally ill||Higher rate – £89.60 per week|
Your level of income and savings aren’t taken into account when deciding if you qualify for Attendance Allowance, so anyone can claim it regardless of their financial situation. You don’t have to spend your Attendance Allowance on care – it’s up to you how you spend the money.
Attendance Allowance will not reduce other benefits you receive, such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support. In some cases, you may even find that being awarded Attendance Allowance means you’re entitled to higher rates of these other benefits, due to your extra needs.
How to apply
Attendance Allowance can’t be backdated. However, your claim may be backdated to the date of your call rather than the date you return the completed form if you order a claim form over the phone. You have six weeks from the date stamped on the form to complete and return it.
You can ask for help from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if you have difficulties making a claim because of a disability or health condition – for example, if you have problems reading or filling in forms, understanding complex information, or using a phone or computer. Visit Gov.uk for more information.
Tips for filling in your form
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.
- explain how your condition affects your day-to-day life and what personal tasks you have difficulties with
- answer as many questions as 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 - for example, from your carer, GP or consultant.
For more tips on filling in your form, see our Attendance Allowance factsheet.
Some people find that if they’ve lived with their health problem for a long time, they overlook or underestimate their difficulties, so it’s a good idea to get help to fill in the form. Contact your local Age UK or Citizens Advice if you need help completing the form.
Keep a copy of the form and any supporting documents that you send with it, in case you need to refer to it again later.
Receiving Attendance Allowance
If you’ve made a new claim, you should receive a written response within four weeks. The letter will tell you whether you’ve been awarded Attendance Allowance, and the rate that you’re eligible for. You’ll either be awarded indefinitely or for a fixed period.
Getting Attendance Allowance also means that you may be entitled to an increase in any means-tested benefits or tax credits you're currently receiving. If you don't receive any, you may become eligible for the first time. Call our Helpline on 0800 319 6789 to see what other benefits you could get, or use our online benefits calculator.
If you're turned down
If your claim is turned down, the DWP should send you a decision letter. If you’d like more information about why you were turned down, you can request them to send you a written explanation.
If you’re not happy with the decision, you can ask for it to be reviewed by writing to the DWP and asking for a ‘mandatory reconsideration’. You should explain why you think the decision is wrong and include any supporting evidence.
If they don’t change their mind, you can appeal their decision. You generally have one month to make an appeal. Call our Helpline for more advice.
In some cases, the DWP’s original decision letter may say you can appeal straightaway. The letter will explain why you do not need a mandatory reconsideration.
If your circumstances change
Your Attendance Allowance may change if your care needs change, you go into hospital, move to a care home or go abroad. You’ll need to contact the DWP to discuss your situation.
See our factsheet Attendance Allowance for more information on what to do if your circumstances change.