Around 3.4 million people who have reached the state pension age are thought to be eligible for Attendance Allowance but aren’t claiming it.
If someone is over state pension age (currently 66 years old for men and women) and they need help with their personal care because of a physical or mental illness or disability, they may be able to claim Attendance Allowance.
Currently, the benefit can be worth up to £441 a month at its highest rate, equating to £5,291 a year.
There are two rates of Attendance Allowance offered, the lower rate and the higher rate.
The lower rate applies to people who need help during the day or at night and currently amounts to £68.10 per week. The higher rate applies to those who need help during both the day and at night or have a terminal illness. This currently amounts to £101.75 per week.
Claiming the benefit can even help people get other benefits such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support (also known as Council Tax Reduction), or an increase in these benefits if they already receive them.
Britons don’t have to use their Attendance Allowance to pay for a carer. Many older people spend the extra money on other types of help in the home, or equipment to help them stay independent.
For example, it could help them pay for heating bills, having meals delivered, or for taxis to get them to and from the shops. For more information about who can claim Attendance Allowance, Britons can visit the Government website.
How to claim Attendance Allowance?
There are different ways to apply for Attendance Allowance.
People can get a claim form by calling the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0800 731 0122 online. They can also download a claim form online on gov.uk.
Age UK says making a claim by phone may be the better option because when someone calls, the date will be recorded on their form.
If their application is successful, the first payment will be from the date of the phone call. However, if people use the online form, their first payment will be based on when their form was received by the Attendance Allowance Unit.
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This could be a difference of a few weeks’ worth of benefits.
Top tips for a successful Attendance Allowance claim
On the Age UK website, they explain that many applications are turned down because people don’t mention, or aren’t clear about, how their illness or disability affects their lives.
It’s important that someone doesn’t underestimate their needs when filling in the form. Their guide provides some “top tips” to boost one’s chances of a successful claim.
On the claim form, people will need to describe how their illness or disability affects them.
Most decisions about Attendance Allowance claims are based solely on what people say in the claim form, so it’s important they’re clear about all the things they can’t do or have trouble with because of their condition.
It’s important for people to describe any accidents or falls they had.
On the website, it states: “Give plenty of information in your own words about your personal circumstances. Don’t worry if you need to repeat yourself.
“Attach any supporting information, such as doctor’s letters, your care plan or prescription lists.
“If there’s a charity that provides help and support for people with your condition or disability, ask them if they have any specific advice on what to include on the form.”
It should be noted that Attendance Allowance doesn’t usually take into account problems with housework, cooking, shopping and gardening.
As well as the general tips above, Age UK highlight the importance of thinking about one’s specific needs such as:
- Washing, bathing and looking after your appearance
- Going to the toilet
- Help with medical treatment
- Getting dressed or undressed
- Getting around indoors
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