What is Attendance Allowance?
to Attendance Allowance:
80% of people who put in a claim for Attendance Allowance (AA) receive an
award, yet it remains a very under claimed benefit. Steve Donnison and
Holiday Whitehead explain who it's for.
To be eligible for AA you must be 65 or over. (If you are under 65, claim
DLA instead). You must also have health problems, such as MS, which cause
you difficulties with everyday activities . For the purposes of claiming
AA it doesn't matter about your savings, your pension, whether you still
work, whether you live alone or anything else. Attendance Allowance is tax free and if you
get an award you can spend it on anything you choose.
is paid at two rates: the lower rate is £49.30 a week and the higher rate
is £73.60. It's paid in addition to other benefits, except disability
living allowance (DLA) which is a similar benefit for people under 65. But
if you're 65 or over and only getting the mobility component of DLA you
can still claim AA. An award of AA can even lead to higher payments of
other benefits, such as pension credit, housing benefit and council tax
benefit. In addition, if someone provides care for you, your award of AA
may allow them to claim carer's-allowance.
To be eligible for AA you need to show that you have difficulties with
everyday activities such as:
safe if you're alone
with other people
in and out of bed
and leisure activities.
difficulties need to have lasted at least six months and may include
things like: fatigue; stiffness; spasms; pain; severe discomfort; having
to take things very slowly or needing someone to keep an eye on you to
make sure you're safe. If you need reminding or encouraging to do things,
perhaps because of poor concentration, depression or anxiety, this also
get the lower rate of Attendance Allowance you also need to show that because of these
difficulties it would be reasonable for you to have help (even if you
don't get it or even want it):
frequently and throughout the day; or
at least two or three times, or for at least twenty minutes, at night.
if you only have difficulties in the morning and evening, perhaps with
getting in and out of bed, washing, dressing and undressing then you may
not qualify for Attendance Allowance. But if you also have difficulties in the middle of the
day, for example with getting to and from the toilet and moving about the
house, then you may well qualify.
may also qualify if you can show that it would be reasonable for someone
to keep an eye on you to protect you from dangers, such as falls, all the
time during the day or for at least twenty minutes or two or three times
get the higher rate of Attendance Allowance you need to show that you have difficulties both
during the day and at night.
If you think you may be eligible for Attendance Allowances you can get a claim pack from
the Benefits Enquiry Line on 0800 882 200. There are a number of
organisations who might be able to help you complete the pack, including:
Concern. Call 020 8765 7200 to find your nearest branch.
Citizens Advice Bureau. Look in the phone book or visit
Disability Information Advice Lines (DIALs). Call 01302 310 123 or visit
www.dialuk.org.uk to find out if there's a DIAL near you.
Independent Advice Centres. Call the UK Advice on 0207 489 1800 for your
There may be someone at your local MS Society branch who can help with
form filling. For branch details, telephone the MS National Centre on 020
MS Help line. The Disability Rights Officer may also be able to help.
if you have access to the internet, you can print off guides to filling
out both the AA and DLA claim packs from www.benefitsandwork.co.uk
Donnison is a freelance welfare benefits trainer and writer . A wide range
of free, downloadable, step-by-step guides to claiming disability and
incapacity benefits are available from Steve's website at www.benefitsandwork.co.uk
Holiday Whitehead is a practising barrister specialising in employment law
and welfare benefits. Details of her employment law training and
consultancy services to the voluntary sector can be found at www.holidaywhitehead.co.uk
This article is adapted from one which first appeared in MS Matters,
published by the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
2003 Steve Donnison and Holiday Whitehead
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