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Attendance Allowance - your circumstances

There are certain conditions about your residence and presence which you need to meet to get Attendance Allowance; and you need to tell the office that deals with your payments when your circumstances change.

Changes in your circumstances

Changes to your circumstances can affect whether you should get Attendance Allowance or the amount you get. It is important to contact the office that deals with your payments.

Here are some examples of changes which you need to report.

Your disability or medical condition

If you, or someone you claim for, needs less help with personal care or supervision, because their condition has improved, or if they need more help, because their condition has gotten worse.


If you, or someone you claim for, is going into or leaving a National Health Service hospital, you need to report this. A period in hospital can affect your Attendance Allowance.

Care homes

If you, or someone you claim for, is going into or leaving a care home, you need to report this too. A permanent or temporary stay in a care home can affect your Attendance Allowance.

Going abroad to live or visit

You need to report if you go abroad for a temporary period or to live in another country. If your visit abroad is temporary, you may continue to get Attendance Allowance if:

  • your absence from Northern Ireland does not last more than 26 weeks (this includes going on holiday)
  • your absence is only to get medical treatment for a condition which began before leaving Northern Ireland

If you are going to live abroad permanently you cannot usually get Attendance Allowance.

If you move to another country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and already receive Attendance Allowance, you may continue to get it under certain circumstances.

Living in Northern Ireland

To get Attendance Allowance you must:

  • be normally resident and present in Northern Ireland
  • have been in Northern Ireland, Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey for at least 26 weeks out of the last 52 weeks (this does not apply for people paid under the special rules)
  • not be subject to immigration control

If you or a member of your family live or work in, or have come from another European Economic Area (EEA) state or Switzerland, different conditions may apply.

You may be able to get Attendance Allowance if you are either:

  • a family member of an EEA national and you have moved to the UK from another EEA state
  • working in Northern Ireland as a national of a country which has an equal-treatment agreement with the European Union - that is Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and San Marino
  • living with one of these workers as a member of their family
  • a person who has been allowed to come into or stay in Northern Ireland because someone has agreed to be responsible for your maintenance and accommodation

You may be treated as being present in Northern Ireland if you are:

  • a member of HM Armed Forces serving abroad or a member of their family
  • a mariner or civilian airman working abroad
  • working on the United Kingdom sector of the continental shelf - for example, on an oil rig

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