With close to a million people living with Dementia in the UK, and with Alzheimer’s disease being the cause of 60-70% of cases of Dementia, it felt appropriate to write our next blog, explaining what financial support may be available to this large number of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Research has confirmed that Alzheimer’s disease predominantly affects those over the age of 65, so detailed below are some benefits that may be available to this age group who are impacted by a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.*
Attendance Allowance is a benefit which can be claimed by those who are over State Pension age (currently 66 but rising) and who have a disability or long-term illness that makes it harder for them to look after themselves without help.
If your symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease affect your ability to take care of yourself independently, and you need care and supervision to carry out daily tasks, such as washing, taking your medication, or moving around your home, then you may be eligible for Attendance Allowance.
Attendance Allowance is not means tested. So, it does not matter what other income or capital you have as this will not have any impact on your eligibility. You just need to prove that you need help with care or supervision, which is associated with your health condition.
Attendance Allowance is currently paid at the following rates:
- Lower rate- £68.10 per week (if you need frequent help or constant supervision during the day, or supervision at night) or;
- Higher rate- £101.75 per week (if you need help or supervision both throughout the day and the night).
For some more information about Attendance Allowance, please see our previous blog here.
In the UK, the State Pension is available to anyone of pension age (currently 66 but ). How much you get is dependent on how much National Insurance you have paid during your working years, rather than being based on how much income or capital you have. When it’s time to claim your State , you should receive a letter, but there are times when this doesn’t not happen, and people don’t realise they can claim it until later.
Your pension age may be different to someone else you know, but you can check this using the gov.uk pension age checker: Check your State Pension age – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The full State Pension is currently £203.85 per week.
Pension Credit is a means tested benefit which tops up income for people of State Pension age who have a low income.
Pension Credit tops up your weekly income to:
- £201.05 if you’re single, or:
- £306.85 if you have a partner.
This is known as the guaranteed part of Pension Credit.
An additional amount of Pension Credit (£76.40 weekly) may be available to those with a severe level of disability who get Attendance Allowance, live alone and where no-one gets Carer’s Allowance in respect of them.
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support
The guaranteed part of Pension Credit is what’s known as a “passporting benefit”. This means that if you receive it, it automatically entitles you to maximum Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. This means that your income will be disregarded when your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support award is calculated.
Even if you don’t get Pension Credit, you may still be able to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support if your income is low, particularly if you are also getting Attendance Allowance.
Specifically in relation to Council Tax, you can be exempt if you are severely mentally impaired, and you live alone. You can normally claim this exemption if you have a certificate from the doctor and are receiving Attendance Allowance.
A note for Carers…
If you are reading this as a carer for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, then you may also be entitled to some financial assistance.
For more information regarding benefits for carers, please see our previous blog here.
Appointees and Deputies
If you are an Appointee or Deputy for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, then it is your responsibility to make sure they that are claiming all the benefits that they are entitled to, and you must keep the relevant agencies updated of any changes in circumstances that may impact their entitlements. It’s better to let the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) know about any changes in circumstances, particularly in relation to who the Claimant is living with, and their income or savings, even if you are not sure whether they will affect entitlement!
The benefits system can be confusing, and it can be very difficult to find out which benefits link with other ones and what you may be entitled to claim, especially when you are also trying to deal with or care for someone with a long-term health condition, like Alzheimer’s disease.
If you are unsure where to begin working out what you could claim, we have broken it down into some easy steps as follows:
- Check eligibility criteria for Attendance Allowance Easy read: Attendance Allowance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Claim Attendance Allowance Attendance Allowance claim form – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Check your latest bank statement to see how much State Pension you’re getting.
- Check eligibility for Pension Credit Pension Credit calculator – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Claim Pension Credit (definitely do this if you are not receiving the full State Pension!) Pension Credit: How to claim – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Check eligibility for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support (Turn2us Benefits Calculator)
- Claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support (via your council’s website)
And you’ve maximised your benefit income!
There are also lots of helpful benefits calculators online that may assist you with working out your overall entitlements. Here are some links to a couple of these:
How can we help?
At Renaissance Legal, we can assist with a wide range of benefits queries. If you need help with ensuring you’re receiving the right benefits, with making applications, or if you’ve received a decision on a particular benefit that you don’t agree with and would like to dispute it, then please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or give our team a call on 01273 610611.