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Attendance Allowance: Could you Be Claiming?

Posted on: 01 Feb 17

Summary

Attendance Allowance: Could you Be Claiming?

Do you have care or disability needs? Well, if so, you’ll be aware that having a disability comes at a cost. Paying for carers or any form of assistance can be expensive, but the good news is that there are many benefits available to help you manage the extra cost of having a disability or illness. Many of these benefits aren’t affected by the amount of income you earn, or the savings you have, and that’s true for attendance allowance too.

But what is attendance allowance, and could you be entitled to it? Read on to find out...

What is attendance allowance?
Attendance allowance is a sum of money that’s available to people over 65 years old who need help with personal care. ‘Personal care’ means help with washing, dressing or eating for instance, and is paid to individuals who need help due to illness or disability. This money can be used towards the cost of paying for the carers who come into your home (or other place of care) to help us do these basic, essential things.

Who qualifies for attendance allowance?
As mentioned above, attendance allowance is intended to help people who need assistance due to their illness or disability. It’s a sum of money intended for those of us with disabilities that are severe enough to mean that we would need help caring for ourselves, or need someone to supervise us (for either our own or someone else’s safety).

Attendance allowance is intended for individuals who have a physical disability, a mental disability or both. Bear in mind that ‘physical disability’ entails sensory disabilities too, such as blindness, and ‘mental disability’ includes conditions such as dementia and various learning difficulties.

Are you entitled to claim for attendance allowance?
The key thing to know is that attendance allowance isn’t given (or denied) to anyone based on their income. It’s not means tested, and instead it’s available to anyone over age 65 who meets eligibility criteria. Of course, you must be living with a disability or illness described above in order to claim for attendance allowance, but bear in mind that you must also have lived in Great Britain for at least two of the last three years, and be living in the country too.

Currently, there are thousands of people who are missing out on attendance allowance – possibly because they’re not aware that they’re entitled to claim for it. So, properly check if you’re eligible – you might be missing out.

How much is attendance allowance?
Attendance allowance rates change from year to year. Right now, you could get either £55.10 or £82.30 a week to help with personal care due to your physical or mental disability if you’re over the age of 65.

Attendance allowance is available at two different rates, based on the level of care you require – not the level of care you’re currently receiving. You’re entitled to claim for attendance allowance even if you’re only receiving a very low level of assistance from carers right now, and you can claim it even if you’re not receiving support from a carer at all.

It’s also worth knowing that these rates depend on when you need help. For instance, the lower rate reflects the cost of care during the day, or supervision at night. The higher rate reflects the cost of care if you need help or supervision through the day and the night, or if you’re terminally ill.

Aside from attendance allowance, there are many other benefits you can claim if you have care needs. So, talk to charities, your council or have a look on the NHS website to find out what else you might be entitled to.

Debbie Fletcher

Last updated on: 01/02/2017 10:35:31

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