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Attendance Allowance - eligibility

You may be able to get Attendance Allowance if you are aged 65 or over and have needed help with personal care because of a physical or mental disability for six months.

Your care needs

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

  • 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, or
  • 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
  • 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 or supervision frequently throughout the day only, or during the night only or someone with you when you are on dialysis
  • the higher rate: if you need help or supervision frequently throughout the day and 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.

You can find out more about caring for someone who is terminally ill in the 'caring for someone' section.

Your circumstances

There are conditions about being in Northern Ireland,and other conditions about your residence and presence which you need to meet to get Attendance Allowance. If your circumstances change, that may affect your Attendance Allowance.

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