What is Attendance Allowance? (AA)
Attendance Allowance is a non taxable weekly benefit for people over 65 who need a lot of looking after because they have an illness or disability.
AA is not means tested - your income and savings (or those of your partner) are not looked at when the decision is made about awarding AA.
Receiving AA may entitle you to other benefits (or increase the value of those benefits). The introduction of the new Personal Independence Payment benefit1 does not affect Attendance Allowance.
AA is available whether you live alone or with other people.
For more information about AA, download our factsheet [PDF]2.
Who qualifies for Attendance Allowance?
You must be:
Examples of people awarded AA
Mr Lewis has a bad heart and recently suffered a mild stroke. He is unsteady on his feet and often falls. His neighbours call in to check he is alright and help him get dressed and go to the toilet. He gets the lower rate of Attendance Allowance.
Mrs Jones lives with her daughter. She is very forgetful and confused and sometimes leaves the gas rings on and forgets to get dressed. She cannot be left safely in the house on her own at night as she may wander. She gets the higher rate of Attendance Allowance.
How much is Attendance Allowance worth?
It is paid at two rates depending on how much care you need.
- Lower Rate - £53.00 per week
- Higher Rate - £79.15 per week
People who are terminally ill
People who are terminally ill (where death can reasonably be expected within 6 months) automatically receive the higher rate of AA. This applies whether the person needs extra help or not. The person does not need to have required help for the previous 6 months.
These claims are dealt with quicker than standard claims.
There is a special section in the AA claim pack to complete in this situation.
This is known as claiming under Special Rules and the gov.uk website3 has more information.
How to claim Attendance Allowance
Getting help with filling in the application form
The form is quite long and complicated but there is help available.
Form filling guides
Use our form filling guides if you need help with the application form.
Many organisations supporting people with specific conditions offer advice on form filling on their websites. See our How to get advice page9 for details.
Our Benefits advice sessions page10 lists local organisations that can offer help with filling in forms.
To discuss an existing claim for AA:
- Phone 08457 123456
- Textphone 08457 22 44 33
If you are refused Attendance Allowance
Our Challenging decisions page11 gives further advice if your claim is turned down or you do not believe you have been awarded the right rate of AA.