Are you entitled to attendance allowance?

Esther Shaw / 18 August 2015

Many older people are failing to claim a host of valuable state benefits which could significantly improve their standard of living. One type of support which is often overlooked is attendance allowance, financial assistance which could help you to stay independent in your own home.



What is it?

Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit for over-65s who are physically or mentally disabled, and who have care needs.

Who can claim it?

You may be able to claim this tested benefit if you have a disability or long-term illness and could benefit from help with personal care, such as getting washed or dressed in the morning, or going to the toilet.

You may be eligible if you have sight or hearing impairments, or mental health issues, such as dementia.

Generally speaking, you must have had care needs for at least six months. The exception is if you’re terminally ill, as you can then make a claim straight away.

If you are living in a care home or in hospital, and your local Trust is funding your care, you may not be able to claim Attendance Allowance. 

If you self-fund your care, you should still be able to claim, but may receive a reduced amount.

Call the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0845 605 6055 or 0345 605 6055 to check your eligibility.

Find out about other benefits you may be entitled to in retirement.

How much do you get?

Attendance Allowance has two weekly rates. The rate you get depends on your disability, and the level of care you need.

If you need frequent help or constant supervision either during the day or in the night, you will get the lower rate of £55.10 a week.  

If you need help or supervision both in the day and at night – or if you’re terminally ill – you will get the higher rate of £82.30.  

These rates apply from April 2015 to April 2016.

Attendance Allowance is paid into directly into your bank account, and is usually paid every four weeks.

You do not have to spend the money on care – you can spend it however you want.

Gateway to other benefits

This benefit is not means-tested, so will not reduce any other income you receive.

If you are awarded it, you may become entitled to other benefits, such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax reduction.

If you are already claiming these benefits, you may become eligible for an increase.

You should check with the helpline or office dealing with your benefit.

What if your circumstances change?

If your circumstances change, you should contact the Attendance Allowance helpline, as this could affect how much you get.

This might, for example, include changes to your condition or the level of help you need, or if you go into hospital or a care home for more than four weeks.

Carers may be eligible for help

In addition, if someone is awarded Attendance Allowance, those caring for them may also be entitled to Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Credit.

Find out more about claiming Carer's Allowance.

Personal Independence Payment

Those aged between 16 and 64 are not eligible for Attendance Allowance, but may be able to claim the Personal Independence Payment to help with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or disability.

For more information

The benefits system is complicated, but there is plenty of help on offer.

The Gov.uk website is a good starting point. You can also call the Attendance Allowance helpline on (0345) 605 6055.

Turn2us is another useful organisation which helps people access welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.