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Attendance Allowance, sometimes referred to as AA, is a tax-free benefit for people aged 65 or over who need help with personal care because they are physically or mentally disabled.

Who can get Attendance Allowance?

You may get Attendance Allowance if:

  • you have a physical or mental disability, or both
  • your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself
  • you are aged 65 or over when you claim
  • Your care needs

To get Attendance Allowance, your disability must be severe enough for you to need any of the following:

help with things such as washing (and getting in or out of the bath or shower), dressing, eating, getting to and using the toilet, or communicating your needs

supervision to avoid putting yourself or others in substantial danger, for example, needing someone to keep an eye on your medical condition or diet, or because you cannot control the way you behave

someone with you when you are on dialysis

There are two rates of Attendance Allowance depending on how your disability affects you:

the lower rate, if you need help with personal care frequently or supervision continually throughout the day only, help with personal care or someone to watch over you during the night only, or someone with you when you are on dialysis

the higher rate, if you need help with personal care, or someone to supervise or watch over you frequently throughout the day and also during the night

You can get Attendance Allowance even if no one is actually giving you the care you need – even if you live alone.

Special rules – if you are terminally ill

If you have a progressive disease and are not reasonably expected to live for more than another six months, there are special rules to help you get Attendance Allowance more quickly and easily. You can get the higher rate immediately without waiting until you have needed help for six months.

You can make a claim for someone under the special rules without them knowing or without their permission. If they satisfy the relevant conditions, they will get a letter saying that they have been awarded Attendance Allowance, but special rules will not be mentioned.

If you are under age 65, you may be able to get Disability Living Allowance.

Attendance Allowance is not usually affected by any savings or income you may have.

Medical examinations

You will not usually need a medical examination when you claim for Attendance Allowance, but sometimes it is necessary in order to assess how your condition affects you.

How much do you get?

The amount you get depends on how much your disability affects you. There are two rates of Attendance Allowance.

Weekly rates

Higher rate £71.40

Lower rate £47.80

How to claim

Claim straight away – if you delay you may lose benefit.

You can get a claim pack by:

phoning the Benefit Enquiry Line: 0800 88 22 00 or textphone 0800 24 33 55

downloading the form from www.direct.gov.uk

You can also claim online.

How it is paid

Attendance Allowance is normally paid directly into any account of your choice which accepts Direct Payment of benefits. This might be a bank, building society or other account provider.

You may be able to get someone else to collect your Attendance Allowance if you wish. For help with this please contact your bank, building society or other account provider.

If you would like more information about how you can be paid by other means, please contact the office dealing with your claim.

Effect on other benefits and entitlements

If you start to get Attendance Allowance, it might increase the amount of other benefits or credits you are entitled to. You may get an extra amount for severe disability with Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or Pension Credit.

Attendance Allowance is normally ignored as income for working out these income-related benefits and credit.

Changes to your circumstances can affect the amount of Attendance Allowance you get or whether you get it.

To get Attendance Allowance you must also meet certain conditions about your residence and presence.

Attendance Allowance – British Sign Language and subtitled film

A short film about Attendance Allowance – which is presented in British Sign Language, narrated and also subtitled – can be downloaded from Directgov. The information is also available on DVD, which you can request to be sent to you.

www.direct.gov.uk