Customers helped

Attendance allowance: what is it & what are the potential pitfalls?

Attendance allowance is available to anyone over the state pension age, requiring care or supervision as a result of illness or injury.

attendance allowance explained

If you’re over the age of eligibility for receiving your state pension, and you need regular care or support, attendance allowance could help you maintain your independence with a little extra money every week.

Perhaps it’s a family member or a friend who could benefit from this support; read on to find out more about the eligibility criteria for this tax-free benefit.

In this article we will cover:

  1. What is attendance allowance?
  2. Attendance allowance eligibility
  3. How much is attendance allowance?
  4. How to apply for attendance allowance  
  5. How to fill in the attendance allowance claim form
  6. What percentage of attendance allowance claims are rejected?
  7. What other benefits can I claim with attendance allowance?
  8. How long does attendance allowance last?
Get financial advice
We’ll find a professional perfectly matched to your needs. Getting started is easy, fast and free.

What is attendance allowance? 

Attendance allowance is a payment or benefit for older people, over the state pension age.

Any UK resident who is over the age of eligibility and suffering from a serious illness or injury and requiring care or supervision can apply. 

It’s one of a number of benefits available to older people, such as Personal Independence Payments and Winter Fuel Payments.

These are paid by the government to help some of the most vulnerable members of society improve their finances and quality of life.

Attendance allowance eligibility 

The attendance allowance eligibility criteria include being over the age of state retirement.

This currently depends on the year that you were born but is around age 66. You can check your state pension age using the calculator on GOV.UK

What medical conditions qualify for attendance allowance?

It’s important to know what medical conditions qualify for attendance allowance.

If someone has a physical or mental condition that prevents them from looking after themselves and they require care provision, then they may be eligible.

This includes:

  • Serious injuries
  • Sensory disabilities (such as deafness)
  • Mental health issues (like dementia)

To qualify for attendance allowance, the recipient must have needed the level of care and supervision to meet their needs for at least six months prior to making a claim.

This six-month period can be before you reach the age of state pension eligibility and there are also separate rules for those suffering from terminal illness, who may be able to arrange payments in as little as eight days.  

You also don’t have to have been in receipt of this care or supervision for the preceding six months, only to have been in a position where you would have been eligible. 

You won’t be able to claim attendance allowance payments if you already receive Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance. 

How much is attendance allowance? 

There are currently two different attendance allowance rates, depending on the volume of care you require. 

Those needing care and supervision during the day will receive the lower rate, a weekly payment of £60.

Anyone requiring such care both day and night will be eligible for a higher rate of payment of £89.60 per week.

Both categories will receive a £10 bonus in December. 

Attendance allowance isn’t means-tested so it doesn’t matter how high or low your income is, you’ll still receive the same amount.

You will receive this payment approximately every four weeks, or monthly. 

How to apply for attendance allowance 

If you’re looking to apply for attendance allowance, this can be done using the online form on the GOV.UK website, and postal form or by calling 0800 731 0122. 

When considering how to claim attendance allowance, you should allow 40 days for your payments to begin. However, these can be backdated to when you filled out the form or rang the number. 

Claiming attendance allowance won’t negatively affect any of your other benefits – in fact, some benefits may be positively impacted by your attendance allowance application. 

Get financial advice
We’ll find a professional perfectly matched to your needs. Getting started is easy, fast and free.

How to fill in the attendance allowance claim form 

When completing the attendance allowance claim form, here are some tips to ensure you don’t fall foul of an incorrect application: 

  1. Make sure you have the following information to hand before you begin completing the form: 

  • National insurance number 

  • GP details 

  • Medication list 

  • Details of anyone other than your GP that you may have consulted about your illness or injury (such as a physiotherapist for example) 

  • A hospital number if you have one and, finally, the details of any hospital stays. 

  1. If you print off the form to complete, use the guidance notes for the online version to help you. 

  2. Be completely realistic about your needs and don’t underestimate the support you require. It’s a good idea to talk it through with someone else before submitting your application as they may offer a different perspective. 

  3. Ask a friend, relative or GP to contribute to the statement section at the end of the form as they may be able to bring further context and background to your attendance allowance form application. 

  4. Your requirements are ever-changing and dynamic so don’t be worried about contacting and updating the government with new information after submitting your application. For example, if you start depending on more care, perhaps both during the daytime and nighttime, you may move from lower rate to higher rate payments. 

  5. Care and supervision needn’t only relate to having a carer come into your home; it can also mean that you require equipment to help you. 

What percentage of attendance allowance claims are rejected? 

58% of claims are rejected, so it’s important to really think about the care and supervision that the person applying for attendance allowance relies on.

Although this could be seen as a bit of a pitfall, there are ways to increase your chances of your claim being accepted.

Remember to include information on any accidents or falls the applicant has had, the activities they struggle to complete unaided and the frequency with which they require support with these things, if disability or health conditions mean certain tasks are more difficult to do in a safe way or if they need support with remembering things.

What other benefits can I claim with attendance allowance? 

If you’re eligible for attendance allowance, then there may be several other benefits available to you as well.

For example, as a result of being accepted for attendance allowance, you may also become eligible to receive pension credit, council tax reductions or housing benefit.

If you’re already receiving these benefits, then you may be able to increase the support you’re receiving through them. 

Attendance allowance means you will also be able to get a Disabled Person’s Railcard and it will also help to support your application for a Blue Badge for parking if you’re disabled. 

How long does attendance allowance last? 

Attendance allowance can last a minimum of six months and, like most government benefits, will be reviewed annually to recheck eligibility. 

If you move to a care home that is fully or partially funded by the local authority, then you may stop receiving attendance allowance as a result of your care needs being met by the care home. 

Attendance allowance can help those who are over the state pension age and who require care or supervision as a result of illness or injury to maintain their independence.

Many people are eligible to receive this benefit, but aren’t aware of it. If you think attendance allowance could help you, a family member or friend, it might be worth seeking advice on eligibility and applying. 

For trusted, regulated advisers near you who can help you navigate the cost of senior care, unbiased.co.uk is the place to start. 

Get financial advice
We’ll find a professional perfectly matched to your needs. Getting started is easy, fast and free.

About the author
Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.