Everything we need to know about
Carers' Guide to Attendance Allowance
As carers, we often find ourselves supporting the person we care for to apply for Attendance Allowance. So with input from unpaid carers in our community, here’s our guide to supporting carers through the process.
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. However, if they privately fund all of their care costs, then they may still apply for Attendance Allowance.
How much is Attendance Allowance per week?
Attendance Allowance is split into two rates.
The lower rate is £60 per week (if the person we care for requires either night or day supervision)
The higher rate is £89.60 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?
The 'Which' guide to Attendance Allowance states it 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. However, we may be eligible for Carers Allowance.
Find out if you're are eligible for £3,515 per year to support you in your caring role, using our handy 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 Carers’ Allowance, subject to its eligibility criteria.
We must be earning below £128 a week and spending at least 35 hours each week caring. Carers Allowance, made simple can help.
How can I support the person I care for to apply for Attendance Allowance?
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.
We can support the person we care for to apply for Attendance Allowance in a number of ways:
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.
How do I get the Attendance Allowance form?
What if the person I care for won't complete the Attendance Allowance form?
In some situations the person we care for is unable or unwilling to apply for Attendance Allowance. Perhaps through their own mental health challenges, or a denial that they need help. This can be incredibly frustrating, but hopefully it's helpful to know that we're not on our own.
Talking through the challenge can support us to feel more in control, make decisions and sometimes come up with new solutions.
“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”
Which also has a guide with 10 top tips for completing the Attendance Allowance Form.
Where do I send the Attendance Allowance form?
We can send our completed Attendance Allowance form by post to a Freepost address:
Freepost DWP Attendance Allowance
We may however prefer to send ‘recorded delivery’.
Attendance Allowance 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. There may be some overpayments of benefits, which the government will seek to recover from the estate.
If the person we care for has died, please accept our condolences. You may like to read about support when the person we care for dies.
Attendance Allowance phone number
The contact number for the Attendance Allowance department is 0800 731 0122. They are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 3:30pm for phone calls. As a carer, we can ask to speak on behalf of the person we care for. It’s also where we can request a paper copy of the Attendance Allowance form.
Tips for carers completing the Attendance Allowance form
We’ve pulled together tips from carers in our community:
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.
Get help. Some carers in the Mobilise community 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. Some Carers' Centres can help too.
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.
Get evidence. A support letter from a social worker, support group or GP can be sent along with the paperwork.
Take copies of all paperwork. Just in case the forms get lost in the post or the system.
Use recorded delivery. Despite the Freepost address, carers recommend using recorded delivery to send the forms in - for peace of mind and an audited trail.
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 or the date you call the enquiry line (if the claim pack is returned within 6 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.
Will Attendance Allowance affect the pension credit of the person I care for?
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.