Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance (A.A.) is a benefit for people aged 65 years and over who have had difficulty coping with the additional costs of illness or disability for at least 6 months. There are two weekly rates of A.A. benefit. The higher rate (£64.50) is for people who require assistance with their personal care by day and by night, while the lower rate (£43.15) is for people who require assistance with their personal care either by day or by night.

How do I qualify?

This depends on the effects your condition has on your day to day life. Generally only tasks associated with your "bodily functions" are payable. For example, you may be eligible if you need assistance to: hear; breathe; communicate; see; feed; wash; bathe; rise from a chair; walk; sleep; sit; stand; shave; use the toilet (and/or incontinence aids); dress and undress; get into and out of bed; turn in bed; take medication; negotiate stairs or apply dressings.

What if my condition varies?

Generally, any assistance in connection with bodily functions must be required for the majority of the time, i.e. four or more days a week, to satisfy the criteria for eligibility to A.A. This timescale does not apply to the "supervision or watching over" element of A.A. (See below)

Are there any other conditions which may entitle me to Attendance Allowance?

You can also claim where you need "supervision" or "watching over" to minimise the risk of you causing injury or harm to yourself or others. This could be the result of a mental impairment or a tendency to fall and/or become unsteady on your feet. Fits, blackouts and giddiness can also fall within this category.

What tasks are not covered by Attendance Allowance?

Assistance with domestic duties or household chores such as cooking, cleaning and shopping are not covered by Attendance Allowance.

Are there any tips when completing the claim pack?

The claim pack is long and based on self assessment. Don't let that put you off. The fuller the accounts of your daily routine that you outline on the forms, the quicker your claim will be dealt with. It is important that you report an accurate picture of your day and night time needs. Don't underestimate the level of assistance required. All the information you provide is treated as CONFIDENTIAL and adds weight to your claim. However, if sections of the claim pack do not apply to you simply tick the "No Help Needed" boxes.

Does it matter if I have no one to care for me?

No, you don't have to have a carer present to qualify. What matters is that you need help with personal care, supervision or watching over, not whether you are actually getting it. You also do not have to spend the allowance on buying care. It is up to you how you spend it.

Will it reduce the money value of my other welfare benefits?

No, you can be in receipt of A.A. and still receive your other non means tested benefits. In fact, if you receive A.A. you may be able to apply for additional benefits such as Income Support.

Who else needs to contribute to the Attendance Allowance claim pack?

If you need help to complete the claim pack you can contact the CATCHUP. office or local office of the Citizen's Advice Centre (CAB). It will help your claim if you have the statements at the end of section 2 of the claim pack completed by:
a) someone who knows about your condition and
b) your General Practitioner

How long will it take to decide on my claim?

Depending on the information provided on the claim pack it can take anything between two and thirteen weeks. The more detail provided the quicker the claim can be processed.