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What is ‘attendance allowance’ and how do I claim it?

What is ‘attendance allowance’ and how do I claim it?
Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn
Posted:
02/02/2024
Updated:
06/02/2024

Attendance allowance is a payment made to people over pension age who have certain care needs – and it could be worth up to almost £5,300 per year.

‘Care needs’ include help with daily living, such as getting dressed, going to the toilet or having someone to look after you so you don’t hurt yourself.

You might be able to claim attendance allowance if you are state pension age (currently 66) or above, and have a long-term health condition that means you need help with daily tasks (someone to ‘attend’ to you).

To claim the money, you must have needed help or supervision for at least six consecutive months, or have been told by a medical professional that you have 12 months or fewer to live.

According to MoneySavingExpert and Policy in Practice, as many as 1.1 million households are missing out on this benefit, adding up to £5.2bn per year.

How much is attendance allowance?

There are two rates of attendance allowance depending on the level of help you’re considered to need:

  • The lower rate is £68.10 per week (£3,541 per year). You’ll get this if you need help or supervision during either the day or the night.
  • The higher rate is £101.75 per week (£5,291 per year). You’ll get this if you need help or supervision during both the day and the night, or if a medical professional has said you have 12 months or fewer to live.

These amounts increase on 6 April each year, in line with inflation.

Who is eligible for attendance allowance?

You need to be of state pension age – so currently aged 66 or above – to claim attendance allowance. It isn’t means-tested, so if your condition means you qualify for help, you’ll get it regardless of your income or savings.

To qualify, you need to have a condition that means you need ‘help’ or ‘supervision’ with daily activities. However, there’s no official list of qualifying conditions – the key thing is whether your illness or disability affects your daily life.

Crucially, you don’t need to actually be receiving this help or assistance – the important thing is that you’re thought to need help or supervision due to the severity of your condition.

‘Supervision’ means needing someone to watch over in certain situations. You might need supervision when you take medicines or have treatment, to keep you away from danger or to stop you hurting yourself or others.

How can I claim attendance allowance?

You can apply for yourself or on behalf of someone else such as a family member or friend. If you apply for someone else, they will need to sign the form unless you have Power of Attorney.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Download a claim form from Gov.uk or request a form from the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0800 731 0122.
  • Find the necessary paperwork and information – this will include your National Insurance number, your GP details, details of your medication, details of anyone you’ve seen about your condition in the past 12 months, and your hospital record number.
  • Fill in the form with details about your condition. The more details you can add, the better. You’ll be asked about your care needs for day and night, supervision when doing activities you need to do, and also things you’d like to be able to do but find too difficult.
  • Sign and submit your completed application.
  • Attend an assessment if necessary. Not everyone will need to do this – you’ll only be called for an assessment if it’s not clear from your application how your illness or disability affects your day-to-day life. Assessments are carried out by ‘Medical Services’ on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
  • Wait for your decision letter – this should take about three weeks. If your claim’s successful, your allowance will be backdated to the date your completed form was received, or the date you called the helpline to request a paper form. If you disagree with the decision you receive, you can challenge it. This is called a ‘mandatory reconsideration’.