Carers' Guide to Attendance Allowance
If we live in the UK and regularly look after a family member or friend, who has reached state pension age, and has a disability, they may be eligible for Attendance Allowance.
Find out what makes someone eligible for Attendance Allowance, and how we can support them through the application process. Created with input from unpaid carers in the Mobilise Community.
Everything we need to know about
What is Attendance Allowance?
Attendance Allowance is a payment that the person we care for may be eligible for. They must be of retirement age and meet some other criteria. It can be used to help them pay for the costs to meet their care needs or stay in their own home. Such as paying for taxis, a cleaner or a carer.
Is the person I care for eligible for Attendance Allowance?
The person we care for may be eligible for Attendance Allowance. They will be assessed for Attendance Allowance against the following criteria, and eligible if they;
Are of state pension age (65) or over. We can check their state pension age
Have a physical or mental disability
Require someone to care for them due to severe disability
They have needed that help for at least six months (unless terminally ill, in which case ‘special rules’ may apply).
If the person we care for lives in a care home, and care is funded by the local authority, then it’s unlikely they will be eligible for Attendance Allowance. But, if they privately fund all of their care costs, then they may still apply for Attendance Allowance.
If the person we are caring for is in receipt of Attendance Allowance, then as their carer we may be eligible for Carer's Credit. Find out if you're eligible using our speedy checker tool.
How much is Attendance Allowance per week?
Attendance Allowance is split into two rates. Below are the increased rates from April 2023.
The lower rate is £68.10 per week (if the person we care for requires either night or day supervision)
The higher rate is £101.75 per week (if the person we care for requires both night and day supervision, or has a terminal illness)
How often is Attendance Allowance paid?
If eligible, the person we care for, will receive their Attendance Allowance every four weeks.
How long does it take to get Attendance Allowance?
According to 'Which', Attendance Allowance can take around 40 working days to get a decision on the application.
Attendance Allowance for carers
There is no such thing as Attendance Allowance for carers. But, we may be eligible for Carer's Allowance.
Find out if you are eligible for £3,991 per year to support you in your caring role, using our handy Carer's Allowance tool.
Can I claim Carers’ Allowance if the person I care for has Attendance Allowance?
If the person we care for receives Attendance Allowance, we may still apply for Carer's Allowance, subject to its eligibility criteria.
We must be earning below £139 a week and spending at least 35 hours each week caring. Carer's Allowance, made simple can help.
How can I support the person I care for to apply for Attendance Allowance?
We can support the person we care for to apply for Attendance Allowance in a number of ways:
Practical and technical support. Such as ordering or downloading the forms.
Drafting their answers with them. Helping them to organise their thoughts to answer the questions. Supporting them to think through and identify all their care needs.
Emotional support. Completing any form that asks intrusive questions about someone’s disability can be emotionally difficult.
The person we care for must have the mental capacity to sign the forms.
The Attendance Allowance claim form is 30 pages long - but don’t be put off! Filling out these pages is not as daunting as it seems if we have the right help.
Read our top tips on completing the Attendance Allowance form for the person we care for.
What if the person I care for won't complete the Attendance Allowance form?
In some situations, the person we care for may be unable or unwilling to apply for Attendance Allowance - particularly around a new diagnosis.
Understandably, these emotions and mental battles are very valid and hard to process, both for us and the person we care for. This can be very frustrating and can take some time but we're definitely not on our own.
It may help to talk through the situation with a trusted friend, or our local carers’ centre.
Talking through the challenge can identify some key next steps that will help us inch forward, and feel a little more in control.
Tops tips for completing the Attendance Allowance form
Before diving into completing the form, we may want to learn from what others have done.
We’ve pulled together top tips from carers in the Mobilise Community who have gone through the process before:
1. Don’t be put off!
The Attendance Allowance form is 30 pages long - but filling out the form is not as daunting as it seems, if we have the right help. This could be a family member, or friend. We might want to divide the process out into two days, filling out half on one day, and the rest on another.
2. Take a look at what help is out there
For example, carers have expressed how helpful their local Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB) has been in helping them complete their form. If you would like help with your Attendance Allowance form, find your local CAB here. We can also check if our local carers' centre can help us too.
3. Describe their worst day
It’s important that we help the person we care for to describe their worst day, so that the form reflects all of their challenges.
4. Get evidence
A support letter from the social worker, support group, or GP can be sent along with the paperwork.
5. Take copies of all paperwork
Just in case the forms get lost in the post or the system.
6. Use recorded delivery or proof of sending
Carers recommend using recorded delivery to send the forms in - for peace of mind and an audited trail. That said, other carers have said they were unable to use the recorded delivery service owing to it being a Freepost address. In these instance, carers recommend getting 'proof of sending' and copies of all paperwork are recommended.
“When my wife became terminally ill we had a financial advisor from Macmillan. She rang the Attendance Allowance department on her behalf. She also did a wonderful job chasing up payments etc”
Attendance Allowance Form
The Attendance Allowance form is known to be a long form (30 pages long) - but don't let that put us off! We can always do it together with someone else, whether it be another friend or family member.
To get the Attendance Allowance Form, we can phone the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0800 731 0122 to be sent the form.
We can also download the Attendance Allowance form and fill it in online before printing it off. After that, simply send the completed Attendance Allowance form by post for free to a Freepost address:
Freepost DWP Attendance Allowance
For peace of mind, we prefer to send it by 'recorded delivery', meaning we receive proof that it has been received or signed. This can either be sending it First Class, or Tracked via Royal Mail.
Attendance Allowance change of circumstance
If the person we care for experiences a change in their care needs, they may be eligible for a different rate by reporting their change of circumstance.
When does Attendance Allowance stop?
If the person we care for goes into hospital, then Attendance Allowance stops after four weeks.
If the person we care for dies, then we can use the ‘Tell us once’ service, which will make the necessary arrangements.
If the person we care for has recently passed away, please accept our condolences. With the wisdom of other carers, we've created a guide, pulling together resources on what support is available when the person we care for dies.
What happens to Attendance Allowance if the person I care for goes abroad?
If we're temporarily going abroad, we can continue to receive Attendance Allowance for up to 13 weeks, and longer if it is for medical treatment.
Attendance Allowance phone number
The contact number for the Attendance Allowance department is 0800 731 0122.
They are open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm for phone calls. As someone looking after our family member or friend, we can ask to speak on behalf of the person we care for.
We can also use this number to request a free copy of Attendance Allowance form.
Can Attendance Allowance be backdated?
Attendance Allowance can be backdated to the date of the claim. This is usually the date the form is received by the Attendance Allowance Team. Or the date we call their helpline (if the claim pack is returned within six weeks).
Can Attendance Allowance be paid if the person I care for goes into a care home or hospital?
It is important to notify the Attendance Allowance team if the person we are caring for goes into a care home.
Attendance Allowance stops after the person we care for has been in a care home for 28 days. Unless they are funding all of their care home fees themselves.
Read our Attendance Allowance eligibility section.
Does Attendance Allowance affect the Pension Credit?
Attendance Allowance is not counted as an income, so will not affect the pension credits of the person we care for.
Attendance Allowance is not taxable and is not means tested. This means the earnings of the person we care for, do not affect how much Attendance Allowance they can receive.
And in fact, if the person we care for receives Attendance Allowance, they may receive a reduction in council tax or an increase in pension credit or housing benefit.