Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit. You may it get if you are State Pension age or over and need help with personal care because you have a physical or mental disability.
You may get Attendance Allowance if you are State Pension age or over - and have needed help with personal care because of a physical or mental disability for six months.
Your disability must be severe enough for you to need either:
- 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
- supervision to avoid putting yourself or others in a lot of danger, for example, needing someone to keep an eye on your medical condition or diet
- someone with you when you are on dialysis
You can get Attendance Allowance even if no one is actually giving you the care you need and even if you live alone.
Attendance Allowance rates
There are two rates of Attendance Allowance depending on how your disability affects you.
|Attendance Allowance||Weekly rate|
|Lower rate - if you often need help or supervision throughout the day only, or during the night only or someone with you when you are on dialysis||£68.10|
|Higher rate - if you often need help or supervision throughout the day and during the night||£101.75|
Cost of Living Support Payment 2023/2024
A Cost of Living Support package has been put in place that includes one-off payments to those on income related benefits, disabled claimants and pensioners. These payments are intended to provide support with the current rise in the cost of living.
Find out more about Cost of Living support
How to claim
As part of your claim for this benefit, or a review of an existing claim, you may need to have a health assessment. Read about Attending a face-to-face health assessment safely during COVID-19
Disability and Carers Service
You can call the Disability and Carers Service and ask to be sent a claim pack. The date of your phone call will be treated as your date of claim from which Attendance Allowance can be paid, as long as you send your form back within six weeks of that date.
If you delay making a claim, you may lose out on benefit.
If you use sign language, you might be able to use the video relay service to contact the Disability and Carers Service using British Sign Language (BSL) or Irish Sign Language (ISL). To access the service go to:
Download an application form
You can download, fill in and print out the claim form. You can also print out the form and fill it in by hand.
Your local Jobs and Benefits office
You can collect an application form from your local Jobs and Benefits office. The date of request will be treated as your date of claim from which Attendance Allowance can be paid. This is as long as the form you receive is returned within six weeks of that date.
Returning your application form
When you have filled in the claim form you can either:
When claiming Attendance Allowance you may receive text messages (SMS) from the Department for Communities (DfC). They will always be clearly marked as DfC and will never ask you to give, or click a link to give, personal information or financial details by message or email.
If you’re concerned or unsure about any text messages (SMS) you receive from about Attendance Allowance you should contact Disability and Carers Service directly. If you suspect you have received a fraudulent message as a scam, contact Disability and Carers Service immediately.
More information is available at:
How Attendance Allowance is paid
Attendance Allowance is normally paid directly into any account of your choice which accepts direct payment of benefits. This might be a bank, building society or other account provider.
You may be able to get someone else to collect your Attendance Allowance if you wish. For help with this contact your bank, building society or other account provider.
If you would like more information about how you can be paid by other means contact the office dealing with your claim.
Effect on other benefits and entitlements
If you start to get Attendance Allowance, it might increase the amount of other benefits or credits you're entitled to.
You may get an extra amount for severe disability with:
- Housing Benefit
- Pension Credit
Attendance Allowance is normally ignored as income for working out these income-related benefits and credit.
Attendance Allowance and your carer
If you have someone looking after you, they may be entitled to claim Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Credit.
Your benefit could be affected if someone claims Carer’s Allowance for looking after you.
If you have someone looking after you for 35 hours or more each week, they may want to claim Carer’s Allowance.
Your carer cannot claim Carer's Allowance until you are awarded Attendance Allowance. Your carer's claim must be within three months of your Attendance Allowance decision being made or they could lose the benefit.
Your carer can find out more information on Carer's Allowance, including how to claim at the link below.
If your carer cannot claim Carer's Allowance they may want to apply for Carer's Credit.
Your carer may be entitled to Carer’s Credit if they look after one or more people, for a total of 20 hours or more a week.
Carer’s Credit is a weekly Class 3 National Insurance and Earnings Factor credit for carers which can help to build a better basic or additional State Pension.
Your carer can find out more about Carer's Credit and how to apply at the link below.
If you would like more information
For more information, you should contact the office dealing with your claim for the benefit or credit concerned or contact the Disability and Carers Service.
Special rules if you are nearing the end of life
If you have a progressive disease and are not reasonably expected to live for more than another 12 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 for end of life 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 nearing the end of life in the 'caring for someone' section.
Once you have made your claim
It normally takes 30 working days to process an Attendance Allowance claim, from the day the Disability and Carers Service receives your claim form. If the claim is made under the special rules for end of life, it will be dealt with much more quickly. You do not need to contact anyone, you will be informed of a decision when one is made.
You can check on the progress of your claim by contacting the Disability and Carers Service.
If you think your benefit claim decision is wrong
If you think a decision about your benefit claim is wrong, you can contact the Disability and Carers Service to explain it. You can also ask to have the decision reconsidered and, if you're still unhappy, you can in most cases appeal against the decision.
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 worsened.
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.
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 a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and already receive Attendance Allowance, you may continue to get it under certain circumstances.
Some people who make a claim for Attendance Allowance may be asked to have a medical examination. This is usually because more information about your disability or illness is needed before a decision on your claim can be made.
If you're not happy with the benefit decision
If you think the decision about your benefit claim is wrong, or you disagree with the rate at which you've been awarded AA, you can:
- ask the Disability and Carers Service to explain it
- ask to have the decision reconsidered by another decision maker
- appeal against the decision to an independent tribunal
- Appealing a benefits decision
Living in Northern Ireland
To get Attendance Allowance you must:
- be habitually resident and in Northern Ireland
- have been in Northern Ireland, Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey for at least two out of the last three years (this does not apply for people paid under the special rules)
- not be under immigration control
If you or a member of your family live or work in, or have come from a 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 an EEA state
- 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
Disability benefits may be paid if you leave the UK to live in an EEA state or Switzerland
There are circumstances when you may be paid too much benefit and you will be asked to repay this. To make a repayment contact Debt Management.
If you require further support, contact Debt Management as soon as possible to discuss an affordable repayment plan and other potential options.
The Disability and Carers Service can answer questions you may have about claiming and receiving Attendance Allowance.