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Attendance Allowance for those aged over pension age

29.07.19

Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people who have reached state pension age and have a disability or long-term health problem, which means they need help with their personal care needs. It is a non-means-tested benefit, so it does not matter how much other income or savings you have.

Note that people with a disability or long-term health problem who are under state pension age, can claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead. Once they receive PIP, this can continue to be paid after they reach state pension age, as long as they continue to have the same needs.

This means that it is only people who are claiming for the first time and are over state pension age, that can claim Attendance Allowance.

If you are not sure what your state pension age, you can find this out using this handy calculator https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-age

What is Attendance Allowance?

To qualify, you need to have a physical illness or disability which affects your ability to manage your personal care and/or you need someone to keep an eye on you throughout the day.

These are the kind of activities you may need help with:

  • Having a bath
  • Getting dressed
  • Eating
  • Using the toilet
  • Taking medication
  • Moving around indoors at homes
  • Sight or hearing problems
  • Confusion or memory problems
  • Risks of falls or seizures

Who can claim Attendance Allowance?

Claimants must have:

  • Reached state pension age
  • Be present in Great Britain and be habitually resident here
  • Satisfy the care/supervision conditions (see below) and have done so for the past 6 months.

How much is Attendance Allowance?

There are two rates of payment.

The lower rate is £58.70 weekly. This is payable if you satisfy the rules for either daytime or night-time needs.

Daytime needs: you must show that you need frequent help with personal care throughout the day or need continual supervision throughout the day to avoid substantial danger to yourself or others.

Night-time needs: you must show that during the night you need prolonged or repeated help with personal care, or you need another person to be awake for a prolonged period or at frequent intervals to avoid a substantial danger to yourself or others.

The higher rate is £87.65 weekly. This is payable if you satisfy the rules for bothdaytime and night-time needs.

As a guide, ‘prolonged’ normally means at least 20 minutes. ‘Repeated’ means two times or more. ‘Frequent’ means several times, not once or twice.

How to claim Attendance Allowance

You can telephone the DWP Attendance Allowance helpline on 0800 731 0122 or textphone 0800 731 0317 (open Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm), and request they send you a form. If you phone for a form, any benefit payable can be backdated to the date of the phone call, as long as a claim is returned within 6 weeks.

Alternatively, you can download a claim form from www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance/how-to-claim

How do I fill in the claim form?

It is vitally important to give as much detail and information as possible. Explain what things are difficult to do, and how long they take you, and what help you need to do them. If someone needs to encourage you or remind you to do things, then make sure you detail that too. Don’t be embarrassed about including personal information. It is important that the assessors really understand your life and what help you need.

An important thing to remember is that the assessor will look at what help you need, not what help you actually get.

It is a good idea to send in supporting medical evidence. If you have a carer who helps you, they could also provide some helpful information about what help they provide to you.

How do they decide whether I qualify for AA?

Most decision are made based on the claim form itself and any additional evidence you have sent in. You will not have to attend a medical. However, they may write to your GP or other health professional if they need some more information.

If you are unhappy with the decision, you can challenge it using the usual benefits appeals procedures. For more information on this, please see our blog about appeals. It is called ‘What to do if you get an ESA or PIP decision and you’re not happy’, but the same rules apply to Attendance Allowance as well!

Does getting Attendance Allowance affect any other benefits?

If your claim is successful, you will receive Attendance Allowance. If you also receive other means-tested benefits (such as Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit), they may award you some extra money as well. If you do not get any means-tested benefits, you may qualify now. This is particularly the case if you live alone and no-one gets Carer’s Allowance for looking after you.

If you do have a carer, that carer may be able to claim Carer’s Allowance. However, it is important to get advice about this, as them claiming Carer’s Allowance could reduce some of the means-tested benefits you receive. So, think carefully before you decide what to do.

What help can Renaissance Legal provide?

We can help with completion of Attendance Allowance claim forms or to challenge unsuccessful Attendance Allowance decisions. If you would like to discuss any help or support you need with an Attendance Allowance claim, email Jayne and Amy at benefits@renaissancelegal.co.uk

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