Attendance Allowance is a government benefit available to people over pension age who may need help to look after themselves with daily living because of a physical or mental disability – or both.
Research suggests that only around half of those who are entitled to this benefit receive it, which could be worth thousands of pounds a year. It is payable at one of two rates, £58.70 or £87.65 a week, depending on how much help is needed.
Some of the attractive features of the benefit are:
- It’s not based on National Insurance Contributions (NICs),
- It’s not taxed
- It’s not affected by your savings or income
- It can be paid on top of other benefits one may be receiving
Attendance allowance can be paid to those living in a nursing or care home, provided that one is responsible for paying their own way.
You could get extra Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction if you get Attendance Allowance. Special concessionary rules apply to those who are terminally ill.
Attendance Allowance is often overlooked as people don’t realise that they qualify, they aren’t aware of the benefit or they are put off by the application process.
So who’s eligible?
Apart from having to be of pension age or over, the main test is that you have to have a disability or illness severe enough that you need someone to help look after you. Note that you do not actually have to be paying someone to care for you in order to qualify. The care must be in connection with daily living activities such as getting dressed, cooking or bathing, and you have to have needed care for a period of at least six months.
How to apply?
Full details on how to claim are on the gov.uk website at: https://www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance/how-to-claim but the main options are:
Download a claim form via the above link on the gov.uk website
Phone the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0800 731 0122
Because the form has to cover a wide range of possible situations, it can be a bit long and daunting, but with the right support it can be done.
The good news is that provided you return the form within six weeks of calling the helpline, your benefit will be backdated to the date when you phoned to request the form.
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