Page contents

  • What is Attendance Allowance?

  • Who can claim Attendance Allowance?

  • How much is Attendance Allowance worth?

  • How long is Attendance Allowance awarded for?

  • How to claim Attendance Allowance

  • Filling out the Attendance Allowance form

  • Attendance Allowance pitfalls
  • Attendance Allowance if you’re terminally ill
  • Receiving Attendance Allowance in a care home
  • Challenging a decision about Attendance Allowance
  • Frequently asked questions

Important takeaways:

Understanding Attendance Allowance can feel like a minefield, but to break it down:

  • It is a tax-free payment available to people over the State Pension age living with a long-term illness or disability
  • Attendance Allowance isn’t means-tested, meaning it doesn’t matter what your savings or income are
  • You may be thinking: Is Attendance Allowance taxable? The answer is, no! 


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    What is Attendance Allowance?

    So, what is Attendance Allowance? It is a tax-free payment available to older people living with a long-term physical or mental condition or disability.

    If someone has reached State Pension age and needs help with the costs of personal care including washing, eating or dressing, or needs personal support, they may be eligible.

    Who can claim Attendance Allowance?

    In order to be eligible for Attendance Allowance UK, you must:

    • Be over the state pension age (check your state pension age here)
    • Have the right to reside in the UK
    • Have been living in the UK for at least 104 weeks of the last 156 weeks
    • Need help with washing, eating or dressing, due to a long-term illness or disability
    • Have had these needs for at least six months and expect to still have these needs for at least six months more

    Many people are unsure what medical conditions qualify for Attendance Allowance. You qualify if:

    • You have a physical disability (including sensory disability, for example blindness), a mental disability (including learning difficulties), or both
    • Your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself or someone to supervise you, for your own or someone else’s safety

    Attendance Allowance won’t reduce your other benefits, quite the contrary it could even increase them. If you have a carer, claiming Attendance Allowance can help them qualify for benefits like the Carer’s Allowance.

    If you’re a carer, with a long-term condition or disability, you can claim Attendance Allowance for yourself and it won’t affect any Carer’s Allowance you may be receiving.

    If you are under the State Pension age, you may be eligible for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to receive extra money if you have a long-term physical or mental illness or disability.

    How much is Attendance Allowance worth?

    Attendance Allowance is awarded at two different rates, depending on the frequency of care that you need.

    For 2024/25, the rates are: 

    • Higher rate: £108.55 per week
    • Lower rate: £72.65 per week 

    If you need help or supervision during the day and night, or are terminally ill, you will receive the higher rate. Whereas you will receive the lower rate if you need frequent help or constant supervision during the day, or supervision at night.

    You are free to spend the money on whatever you like; it doesn’t need to be spent on care, however, your local council or trust can take Attendance Allowance into account when working out how much you need to pay for care services.

    How long is Attendance Allowance awarded for?

    If you are awarded Attendance Allowance, it can be indefinitely or for a fixed period.

    Getting Attendance Allowance also means you might qualify for an increase in means-tested benefits or tax credits you’re currently receiving; if you don’t receive any now, you may qualify for the first time. 

    How to claim Attendance Allowance

    Attendance Allowance isn’t means-tested, meaning it doesn’t matter what your savings or income are, and you do not need a diagnosis from a medical professional to claim it.

    If you would like to apply for Attendance Allowance, you must:

    • Use the Attendance Allowance claim form on the UK Gov website; or
    • Call the Attendance Allowance helpline between Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 3:30pm to ask for a form to be sent to you:
      • Telephone: 0800 731 0122
      • Textphone: 0800 731 0317
      • NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0122
      • Video relay service for British Sign Language (BSL) users
      • Contact the Disability and Carers Service on 0800 587 0912 (textphone: 0800 012 1574) or visit NI Direct if you live in Northern Ireland

    Sending your form:

    • Once you have completed the form you need to send it back by post – email or faxed versions will not be accepted
    • If you call up for a form, it will be stamped with the date you called. If your claim is successful, it will be paid from this date (as long as you return it within six weeks)
    • If you download a form and post it, your claim will start from the date it’s received.  

    Filling out the Attendance Allowance form 

    Before you fill out the Attendance Allowance form, you will need the following information:

    • Your National Insurance number
    • Your GP’s name and surgery address
    • Details of any current medication
    • Details of any other medical professionals consulted about illness or disability in the past 12 months
    • Hospital record number (if there is one)
    • Name, address and dates of stay in a hospital, care home or similar place

    The form is long; you don’t need to complete it all in one go, so it’s worth taking your time to complete it. 

    Here are some tips before filling out the form:

    • List the help you need
    • Think about the difficulties you have and what help would make things easier – and point out adjustments that have been made already
    • Be honest about how long things take you and if you can do them safely
    • Explain any help you need to use equipment or adaptations, or any additional help you need from someone as well as the equipment and adaptations
    • Keeping a diary to document how much help you need or how long things take can be helpful – this can be useful if your condition changes
    • Applicants qualify if they need help ‘most of the time’. If your needs vary, make a list of the help you need on different days
    • Think about how much help you need overall – not just the good days
    • Explain any falls or accidents you’ve had

    Evidence is important when filling in an Attendance Allowance claim form, so include as much as possible, for example:

    • A letter from your GP or consultant
    • Your care plan
    • Information from a community psychiatric nurse
    • Appointment letters
    • Prescription lists

    Keep a copy of the form and any evidence you include, as it will be useful should you need to appeal.

    Attendance Allowance can also be backdated to the date of your claim (usually the date your form is received or the date you call the enquiry line).

    Attendance Allowance pitfalls

    Attendance Allowance applications are often rejected when claimants don’t put down specific symptoms and are unclear when discussing the effect a disability or illness has on their day-to-day life.

    In fact, a large number of claims are rejected because claimants unintentionally withhold information – the main reason for low success rates with the application.

    Here are some common Attendance Allowance pitfalls to be aware of: 

    • Withholding information
    • Exaggerating or understating your needs
    • Not reapplying if your circumstances have changed
    • Not applying based on your financial situation
    • Not applying because you have a carer

    Attendance Allowance if you’re terminally ill

    If you have a terminal illness, you can still claim Attendance Allowance, and unlike other claimants, you can claim straight away. An applicant will receive a decision back within about two weeks.

    First, phone the Attendance Allowance helpline (0800 731 0122) and ask them to send you a form. Tell them you are terminally ill so they know your application needs to be fast-tracked.

    A GP or medical practitioner will also need to complete a ‘SR1 form.’ When completing the Attendance Allowance form the patient can select the ‘special rules’ box and then complete the parts of the form mentioned next to this box. The SR1 form should then be sent off with the application form.

    Receiving Attendance Allowance in a care home

    If you pay for your own care, you can continue to receive Attendance Allowance at either rate (£108.55 or £72.65 a week) when living in a care home.

    However, if your local authority pays for your care, you’ll only continue receiving it for the first 28 days, then it will stop.

    But if someone lives in a nursing care home and their care is paid for through NHS-Funded Nursing Care, they can continue to receive this and still claim Attendance Allowance.

    Challenging a decision about Attendance Allowance

    You can challenge an Attendance Allowance decision and ask for a review through a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ process via this form or by writing a letter to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) using the contact details on your decision letter explaining why you disagree with their decision.

    You must ask for mandatory reconsideration within one month of receiving the decision. However, a review may determine that you will be awarded the lower rate or not entitled to the Attendance Allowance at all.

    You will get a ‘mandatory reconsideration notice’ telling you whether or not they’ve changed the decision and explaining the reasons for that decision and the evidence it was based on.

    Frequently asked questions

    What is the criteria for Attendance Allowance?

    If you have reached State Pension age and are living with a long-term physical or mental condition or disability

    How much is Attendance Allowance a month?

    For 2023/24, the rates are: Higher rate: £101.75 per week; Lower rate: £68.10 per week 


    Do you need a doctor's letter to claim Attendance Allowance?


    Who is not eligible for Attendance Allowance?

    You are not eligible for Attendance Allowance if you already get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to pay for your care (the ‘care component’ of DLA).


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