Pensioners could be missing out on a boost of up to £358 per month – could you claim?

Martin Lewis reveals who is eligible for Attendance Allowance

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The state pension is overseen by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which is responsible for ensuring all eligible people get the sum to which they are entitled. This occurs when a person reaches state pension age, which is currently set at 66. However, the state pension is not all that Britons can become entitled to once they reach state pension age. In fact, there are a number of forms of support older people can receive in this regard. It may simply be the case, though, that they will need to take action in order to secure additional forms of aid. One of these is known as Attendance Allowance, which is designed specifically for those aged state pension age and above. It can assist older people if they are deemed as having a disability or condition severe enough that they need someone to help look after them.

Attendance Allowance may be underclaimed as some believe they will need formal care support in order to be eligible for the sum. This, however, could not be further from the truth. Britons do not actually have to have someone caring for them in order to claim. But those that do could get Carer’s Allowance if they have substantial needs.

Attendance Allowance is available to those who have reached state pension age, where the following apply:

  • A person has a physical disability, including sensory disability, a mental disability, including learning difficulties, or both
  • Their condition is severe enough for them to need help caring for themselves, or for someone to supervise them in order to ensure their safety
  • A person has needed that help for at least a six month period, unless they are terminally ill

People must also be in Great Britain when they make a claim, although there are some exceptions, for example those who are members or family members of the armed forces. The individual must usually have been in Great Britain for at least two of the last three years, and be habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man or Channel Islands.

Those who are UK nationals who live in, or later move to, the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland may also be able to apply for Attendance Allowance. However, they are advised to check with the DWP on this matter to avoid being disappointed.

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attendance allowance state pension age

State pension age Britons could be missing out on a boost of up to £358 per month (Image: Getty)

Attendance Allowance is paid weekly at two separate rates, and what a person actually receives from the Government will depend on the amount of help they need. The benefit is also not means-tested. This means what someone earns, or how much they have put aside in savings will not impact what they get.

The lower rate of Attendance Allowance is set at £60. It is designated for, the Government states, those who need “frequent help or constant supervision during the day, or supervision at night”.

Whereas the higher rate of Attendance Allowance is for those who need “help or supervision throughout both day and night, or you’re terminally ill”. The sum is set at £89.60 per week.

Those who claim Attendance Allowance could also be entitled to further amounts of support. This could be particularly useful for older people in covering some costs. This includes potentially extra Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction. However, individuals should check with the helpline or office dealing with their benefit for more details. 

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Many people will want to know where their benefits will be paid, alongside how much they are set to receive. All benefit from the Department for Work and Pensions are paid into a person’s bank, building society or credit union account. Attendance Allowance is paid usually every four weeks.

When it comes to Attendance Allowance, people will only usually need to attend a health assessment if it is unclear how their illness or disability has an impact on them and their day-to-day lives. 

If an assessment is necessary, then Britons can expect to receive a letter which clearly lays out why and where a person needs to go. During the assessment, a healthcare professional will need to examine the person who is making the Attendance Allowance claim.

It is worth noting, however, a person may not be eligible for Attendance Allowance if they are in receipt of other payments. Those who already get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will not be able to get Attendance Allowance payments.

attendance allowance DWP

State pension age Britons could get extra from the DWP if eligible (Image: EXPRESS)

When a person is considering whether they should claim Attendance Allowance, they should not worry about whether or not they have had a formal diagnosis of a condition in order to receive the sum. 

Citizens Advice explains: “For example, you might still be having tests or appointments to find out what’s wrong with you. As long as you’ve needed help or supervision, or you’ve had difficulties for six months because of your condition you can claim Attendance Allowance. 

“You can also claim Attendance Allowance if you live on your own – it’s based on the help you need, rather than the help you are already getting. If you get Attendance Allowance, you can spend the money however you like – it could help you stay independent in your own home for longer.”

People can use the Attendance Allowance claim form to apply by post. The form will come with notes telling individuals how to fill it in. They will then be able to send the completed form to: Freepost DWP Attendance Allowance. They do not need a postcode or a stamp to return the form. 

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Attendance Allowance can also be backdated to the date a person usually makes the claim. This is usually the date their form is received by the DWP, or the date they first call the enquiry line – if they then return to claim pack within a six week period. 

Citizens Advice has also said that filling in the Attendance Allowance form can be particularly difficult. This is because there are some personal questions which may prove draining to answer. However, Citizens Advice can help people to fill in the form should they so need this kind of help. Some people may also be able to ask a friend or family member to provide them with further assistance.

It adds: “Make sure you read the notes that come with your Attendance Allowance form before you start filling it in. There’s a handy checklist of things you’ll need to have with you when you fill the form in, for example: National Insurance number, GP’s details, a list of any medication taken.”

The DWP will use a person’s form to decide whether to give them Attendance Allowance. They will be looking to see what difficulties a person has, how much help they need, and what sort of help they need. 

William Murphy

William Murphy

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