Who is eligible for Attendance Allowance?
Attendance Allowance is a state benefit available for older people who need extra help with personal care due to a serious illness or disability. It is not means-tested and the rates for 2020-21 are:
- £59.70 a week for people needing help for either day or night
- £89.15 a week for people needing help both day and night.
Watch our video for a simple guide to Attendance Allowance.
For more detailed information about eligibility and the latest rates, read our guide to Attendance Allowance:
What to collect before filling in the form
Gather together the following information for the person applying for Attendance Allowance. This will help to ensure you have everything you need to complete the application.
- National Insurance number
- GP name and the surgery’s address
- details of medication
- details of anyone consulted about illness or disability in the past 12 months, apart from a GP
- hospital record number (if there is one)
- name, address and dates of stay in a hospital, care home or similar place.
What you should make a note of in advance
If you plan to apply for Attendance Allowance for yourself, there are a number of things to take into account before you start.
Attendance Allowance is not based on what illnesses or disabilities you have, but on how your daily life is affected by your health.
To make sure you capture everything that could support your application, it can be useful to talk about aspects of your daily life with someone who cares for you and record your ideas.
It helps to keep a diary for a few days before completing the form, so you don’t forget any tasks that you need help with.
It’s very important that you give details of everything you struggle with, such as:
- getting up from the toilet
- preparing food
- getting dressed
- getting around indoors
- taking a bath safely.
When social services came to do an assessment they asked about Attendance Allowance and we said, ‘What’s that?’ and now it more than pays my mother’s contribution for the carer’s visits.
Top 10 tips for filling in the form
The Attendance Allowance form is over 30 pages long and some people miss out on the benefit because they’re put off by the claims process.
Spend some time in advance thinking about your needs and circumstances, making notes and discussing this with a family member or carer. Our tips will also help you navigate the claim form and give you the best chance of a successful application.
The form itself also comes with some useful guidance notes and examples of the types of things you should include.
If you fill in the printable AA1 claim form from gov.uk, it’s a good idea to also open the interactive online version of the form, as the guidance notes are provided with that version. The notes can be printed separately if that helps.
Attendance Allowance packs are available in large print or braille. Interpreters can also be organised. For help with this, call the Attendance Allowance helpline. If you have speech or hearing difficulties, contact the Disability Service Centre.
When completing the form, don’t underestimate your needs. Be realistic and note the amount of help needed on bad days, as well as on good ones. Things to think about when completing a claim form include the following aspects of day-to-day living.
- Washing: do you need help getting into and out of the bath or shower, washing your hair or shaving?
- Going to the toilet: do you need help going to the toilet during the day or night? Do you suffer from incontinence? Might you need help with changing beds?
- Getting dressed or undressed: do you need help with this?
- Mealtimes: do you need any help with eating or drinking? Do you have difficulty operating the oven, opening cans or doing other things in the kitchen?
- Medical treatment: do you understand which medication to take and when? Can you operate medical devices (such as a hearing aid) or safely manage any illnesses (such as diabetes) by yourself?
- Getting around indoors: do you need help navigating stairs, moving from room to room, getting in and out of chairs or bed? Aids and adaptations to list include using a hoist, bed-raiser or monkey pole (a support pole to help you lift yourself into a sitting position); a commode or raised toilet seat; bath rails, shower seat or a hoist to help bath or shower; a walking stick, walking frame or crutches; special cutlery or a feeding cup to help with eating and drinking.
- Communicating: if you have poor eyesight, do you need help reading your post? If you’re deaf, do you need help communicating? Can you hear the doorbell?
- Supervision: are you in danger of falling? Do you need someone to watch over you in case you have a seizure or a fall? Do you become confused easily and do you feel you might be in danger if no one is there to support you?
Give as much detail as you can in each section, together with examples. Don’t worry about repeating yourself. It’s also important to describe how another person helps you – or could help you. This is a key reason to qualify for Attendance Allowance.
It’s important to describe how another person helps you – or could help you. This is a key reason to qualify for Attendance Allowance.
Don’t worry about making a mistake on the form. It’s OK to cross something out.
You or your loved one may be asked to give your consent for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to contact your GP, or the people or organisations involved with looking after you. This would be to get a clear understanding of your needs. While you don’t have to agree to this, it might weaken your chances of getting the benefit if you don’t.
Towards the end of the form there’s the option to include a statement from someone who knows you and your needs. It’s worth asking someone to do this as it helps reinforce your case. It could be a friend, another relative or a professional person, such as a doctor or nurse. If that person understands the rules of the allowance, it will be even better, as they will know what relevant information to include.
You must sign the form yourself, so if someone has been helping you to fill in the form, you should read it through before signing. The exceptions to this rule include if the person filling in the form holds a Power of Attorney for you, or there are other reasons you can’t sign, such as a mental health problem. The form explains what needs to be done in these circumstances.
Don’t email the completed form as it won’t be accepted, you’ll need to post it.
Once the application has been received, you might be asked to attend a medical assessment to check your eligibility. This can be at your home if getting to the assessment is difficult for you. If possible, take someone who cares for you, such as a family member or friend, to the meeting in case anything isn’t clear.
At the assessment, you’ll need to provide identification, which could be a passport, birth certificate, driving licence, life assurance policy or a bank statement.
If you need further help with completing the form, call the Attendance Allowance helpline.
Read about Attendance Allowance and the payment rates, plus tips on applying and completing the form.
Read about the benefits available in later life: Attendance Allowance, PIP, Winter Fuel Payment and more.
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