Attendance Allowance is a tax-free payment available to older people living with a long-term illness or disability, designed to help with the costs of washing, eating or dressing.

Criteria for receiving Attendance Allowance

In order to be eligible for Attendance Allowance, 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

Attendance Allowance rates

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

The lower rate is £59.70 per week if the need for help is only through the day or night.

The higher rate is £89.15 a week, and this is for if the need for help is through both the day and night.

Questions about funding care?

Care Sourcer’s friendly care experts are on hand to provide guidance on typical care costs, help you explore your funding and benefit options, or even negotiate care fees on your behalf. Call us on freephone:

0800 098 8299

(Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)

Claiming Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance isn’t means-tested, nor do you need a diagnosis from a medical professional to claim it. 

To apply for Attendance Allowance:

  • 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

Once you have completed the form you need to send it back by post – email or faxed versions will not be accepted.

Filling out the Attendance Allowance form 

Before you fill out the Attendance Allowance form it’s a good idea to make sure you have everything you need to hand. This includes:

  • 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

Backdating your Attendance Allowance claim

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

Fast-track application process for people who are terminally ill

Usually someone must have an illness/disability for at least 6 months prior to claim Attendance Allowance and be expected to still have these needs for at least 6 months more.

However, if someone has a short life expectancy then the qualifying period does not apply and Attendance Allowance can be claimed for immediately. 

The first step is to phone the Attendance Allowance helpline and ask them to send you a form. You should tell them you’re terminally ill so they know your application needs to be fast-tracked.

A GP or medical practitioner will have to complete a ‘DS1500 medical condition report’ and then you should send this off with the application form. 

You can also apply on behalf of someone else who is terminally ill – you don’t need to have the authority to act for them and the money will still be paid to them. 

Receiving Attendance Allowance in a care home

If you live in a care home and your care is paid for by your local authority then it’s unlikely you will be able to claim Attendance Allowance.

You can still claim Attendance Allowance if you pay for all your care home costs yourself.

Challenging a decision about Attendance Allowance

If you submit your application and do not agree with the decision made, you can ask for it to be reviewed again in a process called ‘mandatory reconsideration’. 

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

To challenge a decision, get in touch with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) using the contact details on your decision letter. 

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.

Summary

What is Attendance Allowance?

Attendance Allowance is a tax-free payment available to older people living with a long-term illness or disability, designed to help with the costs of washing, eating or dressing.

Is Attendance Allowance means-tested?

No, Attendance Allowance isn’t means-tested, nor do you need a diagnosis from a medical professional to claim it. 

Is Attendance Allowance backdated?

Yes, Attendance Allowance can be backdated to the date of your claim.

Can a challenge a decision made about my Attendance Allowance claim?

If you submit your application and do not agree with the decision made, you can ask for it to be reviewed again in a process called ‘mandatory reconsideration’. However, it is worth noting that a review may determine that you will be awarded the lower rate or not entitled to the Attendance Allowance at all. 

Can I apply on behalf of someone else who is terminally ill?
You can also apply on behalf of someone else who is terminally ill – you don’t need to have the authority to act for them and the money will still be paid to them. 

Can I receive Attendance Allowance in a care home?

If you live in a care home and your care is paid for by your local authority then it’s unlikely you will be able to claim Attendance Allowance.

Questions about funding care?

Care Sourcer’s friendly care experts are on hand to provide guidance on typical care costs, help you explore your funding and benefit options, or even negotiate care fees on your behalf.

Call us on freephone: 0800 098 8299 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)

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