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Attendance Allowance Eligibility Rules

The tax free scheme is a weekly benefit that could help pay for your personal care. You may qualify if you have reached State Pension age and you have severe mental or physical disabilities.

Attendance Allowance benefit is paid at two rates (higher and lower). As a result, it is your particular disability that will determine which rate you can get.

Eligibility Criteria for Attendance Allowance

Even though Attendance Allowance is tax free, the amount you get is completely dependent on the level of nursing care you require.

There is no benefit means testing to claim the Attendance Allowance. But, it may increase some benefit entitlements that you already receive.

People less than State Pension age with special care needs should qualify to claim the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead.

Note: Having substantial caring needs means your carer may qualify to get the Carer’s Allowance benefit. Even so, you can claim Attendance Allowance even if no one actually gives you the care you need and even if you live alone.

The criteria for Attendance Allowance is all about the extent of the disability. The way your physical or mental disablement affects your circumstances determines the rate:

  1. Lower Rates: For those who need frequent help or supervision throughout the day only, or during the night only. It would also apply for those who need someone with them while they are on dialysis.
  2. Higher Rates: Apply for those who need frequent help or supervision throughout the day and during the night.

Criteria for Attendance Allowance

Providing you have reached the State Pension age, you will meet the Attendance Allowance eligibility criteria if any or all the following apply to your circumstances:

  • You have a physical disability (which can include sensory disabilities such as blindness).
  • You have a mental disability (includes learning difficulties).
  • Your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself or for someone else to supervise you. This refers to your safety or that of someone else.
  • You needed that help for at least six (6) months (excludes a terminally illness).

The general criteria for Attendance Allowance means your care needs or disability must be severe enough for you to need:

  • Help with things such as washing and getting in or out of the bath or shower. You might need help dressing, eating, or getting to and using the toilet. You may also have difficulty communicating your needs to others around you.
  • Supervision to avoid putting yourself or others in danger. For example, needing someone to keep an eye on your medical condition or diet. It could also include needing someone with you when you have dialysis treatment.

Attendance Allowance Conditions and Assessments

Attendance Allowance rules mean you must also meet some specific conditions:

  • Be living in Great Britain when you make the claim. But there are several exceptions (e.g. members and family members of the Armed Forces).
  • Have lived in Great Britain for more than two of the previous three years. Exceptions apply for refugees and those who have humanitarian protection status.
  • Be classed as habitually resident in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands.
  • Not have any issues with immigration control (excludes sponsored immigrants).

Note: Exceptions may apply if you are living in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.

Attendance Allowance Rules for Assessments

Claimants sometimes get a letter asking them to attend an eligibility assessment. The letter will explain the reason why and where you should attend.

You will need to provide identification at the assessment using your passport. Those without a passport can also use any three of these four specific documents:

  1. Birth certificate
  2. Full driving licence
  3. Life assurance policy
  4. Bank statements

Note: You do not qualify for Attendance Allowance if you already get the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance.

Attendance Allowance Rates 2022 to 2023

Attendance Allowances are benefits paid weekly into your bank or building society account. There are two different rates depending on the level of personal care that you need.

  1. Attendance Allowance Lower Rate £60.00: Requiring frequent help or constant supervision during the day or night.
  2. Attendance Allowance Higher Rate £89.60: Needing help or supervision through the day and night (or terminally ill).

Note: You may also qualify to get extra Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, or Pension Credit.

If Your Circumstances Change

A change in circumstances can affect your benefit payments. This may result in a move between the lower and higher rates. Contact the Attendance Allowance helpline any time your circumstances change or when:

  • The level of help you need or your condition changes.
  • You go into hospital or a care home for more than four (4) weeks.
  • You go abroad for more than thirteen (13) weeks.
  • You get imprisoned or held in detention.
  • Your name, address, or bank details change.
  • You want to stop receiving the benefit.
  • The contact details of your doctor have changed.

Note: Receiving overpaid benefits means you could get a £50 civil penalty and have to repay the money for not reporting changes.

Attendance Allowance Rules for Terminally Ill Claimants

The special rules apply to those who have a progressive disease and are not expected to live for more than a further six months. In this case, you get Attendance Allowance quicker and there is no need to wait six months to get the higher rate awarded.

Include a DS1500 medical condition report with your Attendance Allowance claim form. You can only get the medical report from a consultant, a doctor, or a specialist.

Providing the claimant satisfies all relevant conditions, you can make a claim for someone under these special rules. That means it can take place without them knowing or without their permission.

They receive a letter confirming the Attendance Allowance award. There is no mention of the special rules getting applied to the case.

Living in a Care Home

As a rule, you cannot get Attendance Allowance if you live in a care home. This is because the local authority usually pays for the care you receive. But, paying for all your care home costs yourself means you can claim Attendance Allowance.

How to Claim Attendance Allowance

Download the online Attendance Allowance Form AA1 and send it to ‘Freepost DWP Attendance Allowance’. There are guidance notes informing you how to fill it in. Send the completed form to:

Attendance Allowance Helpline
Telephone: 0800 731 0122
Textphone: 0800 731 0317
Monday to Friday: 8am to 3:30pm
Relay UK: 18001 then 0800 731 0122
Check UK telephone charges.

Attendance Allowance Information

The Attendance Allowance benefit can get backdated to the original date of the claim. This is usually the date when they received the form (return the claim pack within 6 weeks).

Note: The medical assessment may be a requirement to complete your application. But, having eligibility for Attendance Allowance does not cover mobility needs.

Appeal a Decision or Make a Complaint

If you disagree with a decision you can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. But, there have been some procedural changes. You must now ask for ‘mandatory reconsideration‘ before you can make the appeal.

You can also complain to the Department for Work and Pensions if you feel dissatisfied with the service they have given to you.

DWP Help Guides

Note: The short video presented by ‘dwpsign’ explains more about what Attendance Allowance benefit is and who can make a claim for the payments.

Attendance Allowance Eligibility Criteria in United Kingdom