Attendance Allowance

To qualify for Attendance Allowance (AA), you must be aged 65 or over and have problems with personal care. You must have had these problems for at least six months. For example getting out of bed, having a bath, dressing yourself or being safe on your own.

Attendance Allowance is paid at one of two rates:

  • the lower rate if you need help during the day or at night
  • the higher rate if you need help during the day and at night.

To claim in England, Scotland or Wales, call the Department for Work and Pensions’ Attendance Allowance helpline on 0345 605 6055. In Northern Ireland, call the Department for Communities’ Attendance Allowance helpline on 0300 123 3356 and ask them to send you a form.

Attendance Allowance (AA) is a benefit for people aged 65 or over who have problems looking after themselves because of an illness or disability.

If you are under 65, you should claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead of AA.

Who can claim

You may qualify for Attendance Allowance (AA) if you have problems with personal care, for example:

  • getting out of bed
  • having a bath
  • dressing yourself
  • needing someone with you to make sure you are safe.

Attendance Allowance is based on the amount of care you need, not the amount of care you get at the moment. You do not need to have a carer to be able to get this benefit. You must have had these problems for at least six months. But there are special rules for people who are terminally ill.

You should also know that:

  • your income and savings will not affect your claim
  • if you are awarded Attendance Allowance, your other benefits will not be reduced – they may even increase, or you may be able to get other benefits such as Pension Credit.

Terminal illness

If you are terminally ill, and may be expected to live for less than six months, you can apply using a fast-track process called special rules. You can keep getting the benefit under the special rules if you live longer than expected.

Claiming under special rules means:

  • you do not have to show that you have any care needs
  • you do not need to have had problems looking after yourself for six months
  • your claim will be dealt with quickly
  • you will get AA at the highest rate
  • someone can make the claim on your behalf.

All special rules claims are reviewed after three years.

To claim under special rules, tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or Department for Communities (DfC) about your situation. You will then need to ask your GP, oncologist or specialist nurse to send them a form called a DS1500.

If you become terminally ill while already claiming Attendance Allowance, you can still ask your doctor or specialist nurse to write a DS1500. This may increase the amount of Attendance Allowance you get.

How much you could get

Attendance Allowance (AA) is paid at one of two rates. The rate you get will depend on how much care you need. You may be paid:

  • the lower rate of £55.65 a week if you need help during the day or at night
  • the higher rate of £83.10 a week if you need help during the day and at night.

There are no restrictions on how you spend AA. The money does not need to be spent on paying for care. Some people have support from family or friends, and use the money for other things, such as equipment or transport.

If you have problems moving around, you may be able to get equipment to help you manage at home or help with transport.

How to claim

  • If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you can download and print an application form at gov.uk/attendance-allowance You can also call the Department for Work and Pensions’ Attendance Allowance helpline on 0345 605 6055 or use textphone 0345 604 5312 and ask them to send you a form.
  • If you live in Northern Ireland, you can download and print an application form at nidirect.gov.uk/articles/attendance-allowance You can also call the Department for Communities’ Attendance Allowance helpline on 0300 123 3356 or use textphone 028 9031 1092 and ask them to send you a form. Or you could visit your local Social Security or Jobs and Benefits office.

If you ask for a form to be sent to you by post, try to return it within six weeks. This is because if you return the form within this time, the benefit can sometimes be backdated to the date you requested the form.

The claim form asks personal questions about how your health problems affect your daily life. It is long and you should set aside a good amount of time to fill it in. You may find it helpful to read through the form before you start filling it in, so that you can get the information you need before you start. It will help your application if you include as much detail as possible.

It is a good idea to get help from an experienced welfare rights adviser to fill in the form. You can do this by calling the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00. Or visit macmillan.org.uk/inyourarea to find out whether you can see a Macmillan welfare rights adviser in person.

Someone else can complete the form on your behalf, as long as you can sign it. If you cannot sign the form, the person completing the form will need legal permission to sign it on your behalf. If you are terminally ill, you will not need to sign the form.

Back to Disability-related benefits

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment has replaced Disability Living Allowance in England, Scotland and Wales for people aged 16–64 with a long-term disability.