We explain how to apply for Attendance Allowance if you are at State Pension Age and need extra financial support for your mental health.
Attendance Allowance is a benefit you can claim if:
- You are over the state pension age, and
- Your mental health or physical condition means you need help looking after yourself.
Attendance Allowance can be used to pay for any extra help and support you might need.
How do I know if I can get Attendance Allowance?
You will qualify for Attendance Allowance if you have reached the State Pension age and all the following conditions apply:
- Your mental health or physical condition makes it much harder for you to perform daily living tasks.
- You need help to look after yourself and manage your mental health condition.
- You have needed help for at least the past six months.
- You are a UK resident and are in the UK when claiming.
- You are not subject to immigration control.
What are daily living tasks?
Daily living tasks include:
- Getting in or out of bed.
- Being able to leave your house or flat without help.
- Taking your medication.
- Getting dressed or undressed.
- Eating and drinking.
What does ‘needing help’ mean?
Needing help means that you need support in looking after yourself. If you are at the State Pension age and your mental health or physiucal health condition makes it harder for you to perform daily living tasks, you might be able to apply for Attendance Allowance.
Examples of when your mental health makes it harder for you to look after yourself:
- You cannot be alone.
- Example: you forget to eat or wash yourself.
- You find it hard to control your behaviour.
- For example, you may get angry or frightened and need someone with you to help you manage your emotions.
- You find it difficult to focus or motivate yourself.
- Example: some days you cannot get out of bed because you are frightened of what might happen.
- You get easily confused and find it hard to understand what is happening.
- You suffer from anxiety that makes it more difficult for you to look after yourself.
Do I already need to be receiving help when applying for Attendance Allowance?
You do not have to be getting help from a carer, friend, or support worker when applying for Attendance Allowance. You just need to demonstrate that you need help.
Case Study: How a benefits adviser helped Faraz claim Attendance Allowance
Faraz is 70 years old and has dissociative amnesia.
He experiences memory lapses and sometimes struggles to remember who he is and what has happened to him in the past.
Faraz can still talk to people and remember things but often has flashbacks and nightmares that are disorienting and frightening.
Sometimes Faraz finds himself in strange places, but he cannot remember how he travelled there.
Faraz’s condition has been like this for nearly nine months.As a result, he sometimes struggles to do simple things like getting dressed and has locked himself out of the house several times.
Faraz is embarrassed but knows he needs help and some extra financial support, so he contacts a benefits adviser.
The benefits adviser listens to Faraz explain his situation and realises Faraz is eligible for Attendance Allowance.
The adviser helps by suggesting:
- He should apply for Attendance Allowance.
- He should visit his GP to ask for extra support and any additional information on his mental health condition that can be used to support his application for Attendance Allowance.
Because Faraz’s mental health condition makes it hard for him to perform daily tasks without help, Faraz can apply for Attendance Allowance under these circumstances.
Can I apply for Attendance Allowance if I am receiving other benefits?
You can still get Attendance Allowance if you are already receiving certain benefits, including:
- Pension Credit.
- Housing Benefit.
- Council Tax Reduction.
In some cases, these benefits can go up if you receive Attendance Allowance. However, the rules can be complicated, so you should contact a benefits adviser for more details.
Does Attendance Allowance stop me from getting other benefits?
You cannot receive Attendance Allowance if you are already getting:
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
In some cases, it is better to apply for another benefit over Attendance Allowance.
For example, if you qualify for PIP, you should apply for that instead of Attendance Allowance.
This is because PIP looks at your care and mobility needs, so you may receive more money from PIP than you would with Attendance Allowance.
A benefits adviser will be able to help you decide which benefit you should claim.
How much is Attendance Allowance?
There are two different rates for Attendance Allowance:
- Lower rate = £61.85 a week
You should get this rate if you need frequent help or someone to watch you during the day or night. This is also called ‘supervision’.
- Higher rate = £92.40 a week
You should get this rate if you are terminally ill or need help or supervision all the time.
H2: How do I apply for Attendance Allowance?
You can apply for Attendance Allowance by:
- Downloading the AA1 Attendance Allowance form from Gov.Uk or by,
- Calling the Attendance Allowance Helpline (contact details here) for a copy of the AA1 Attendance Allowance Form.
Once you have completed the form, you must print it out and post it to the address provided on the form.
Advice on filling out the AA1 Attendance Allowance form
- The form has 29 pages, and you might feel overwhelmed at first. Take time to think about the questions and your answers, and don’t be afraid to ask someone to help you complete the form.
- The DWP decision-maker does not know you or how your mental health condition affects your day-to-day life. Tell them everything, even if you think it’s trivial or embarrassing.
- Be sure to explain how your mental health condition affects your day-to-day life and what personal tasks you struggle with.
- Give lots of details about your mental health needs. For example, if your mental health makes it hard for you to leave the house or get out of bed, make sure you write that down on the form.
- State how much time it takes for you to complete a specific task. For example, if you find it takes you nearly three hours to work up the courage to leave the house, say so.
- Don’t worry about repeating yourself – the more you tell the DWP about your mental health, the more it will help. Imagine your very worst days – Mental health is not static. You might feel okay one day and terrible the next. When you fill in the form, imagine what your very worst days are like and write about them.
- Do not talk about your good days – Explain what happens on your worst days and what happens if you don’t have someone to help you. For example, you forget to turn the cooker off, lock your car, get angry and become unable to control your emotions.
- Try to give examples of how your mental health condition negatively impacts your life – For example, your depression and anxiety lead to panic attacks and make you scared to leave your home to do the shopping or catch a bus.
- Mention any adaptations or treatments you are receiving to help you – For example, you have seen the GP, and they have prescribed medication and/or therapy to help you manage your emotions. Mention if you are still waiting to be seen and are struggling.
- Answer as many questions as you can. If you are unsure about a question, contact a benefits adviser, friend, or carer for help.
- Try to include any supporting evidence with your form – this can be copies of any treatments you are receiving for your mental health, medication list, social worker reports etc.
- Try to make copies of the complete form and any evidence you include before sending the original to the DWP.
- Try not to feel ashamed or embarrassed about telling the DWP how your mental health impacts your life – mental health exists on a spectrum just like our physical health. The more the DWP knows about how your mental health impacts your life, the better chance you have of getting support.
- Once you have filled out and posted your form, you should receive a decision from the DWP within six weeks. If you are chasing an existing claim, it might take longer for the DWP to respond.
How long can I get Attendance Allowance for?
The DWP will tell you how long you will receive Attendance Allowance. The duration can vary from one year to ongoing. Your decision letter will tell you how long your claim will last.
My claim has been rejected. Can I appeal?
You can ask for a mandatory reconsideration if the DWP reject your claim.
- Welfare Benefits for Mental Health
- Personal Independence Payment
- Universal Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Council tax: Exemptions and discounts
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Housing Benefit
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Working Tax Credits
- Support for Mortgage Interest
- Attendance Allowance
- Cold Weather Payment
- Income Support
- Incapacity Benefit
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Social Fund