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Attendance Allowance

If you have reached state pension age and need help with personal care or help to make sure that you are safe, you could be entitled to Attendance Allowance.

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Do I qualify for Attendance Allowance?

You may qualify for Attendance Allowance if you have reached state pension age and need help to do things, like choosing clothes, reading and replying to mail, walking around safely and taking part in social activities. To make a claim you must also:

  • Live in the UK (this is decided by looking at a number of factors including reasons for coming to the UK, the length of your stay, future intentions, and previous links with the country)
  • Satisfy the past presence test (you must have been present in the UK for 104 out of the previous 156 weeks).

These two rules are complicated and there are some exceptions – if you live in a European Economic Area country, for example – so contact our Helpline if you think you may have difficulty passing these tests.

You do not have to satisfy the past presence test if you have a terminal illness.

Attendance Allowance is not a means-tested benefit, so it doesn't matter how much other income or savings you have. You can get Attendance Allowance even if you live alone and don't have anyone looking after you; it is your need for help that is important.

You can spend any Attendance Allowance you receive however you like. It can be paid on top of other benefits and may even increase the number of other benefits you get.

If you already get Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Adult Disability Payment (Scotland only), you cannot get Attendance Allowance as well.

Do I have to be registered blind or partially sighted to receive Attendance Allowance?

No, you do not have to be registered as blind (severely sight impaired) or partially sighted (sight impaired) to claim Attendance Allowance. It is how your sight affects your daily living that counts. Registration can provide evidence of how serious your sight problem is. However, you can provide alternative evidence about your sight problem, such as a letter from your consultant or GP.

If your sight problem is making your life difficult, it is worth thinking about getting registered. This helps to make sure that you don't miss out on other help you can get.

How much is Attendance Allowance worth?

If your claim for Attendance Allowance is successful, you will receive one of two weekly rates, depending on how much care you need:

  • A low rate of £68.10
  • A high rate of £101.75

The person making the decision on your claim will take into consideration the care you need during the day, during the night, and how often you need that care. Our factsheet explains more about this.

Who is responsible for administering Attendance Allowance?

If you live in England, Scotland or Wales then Attendance Allowance is managed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

If you live in Northern Ireland, then Attendance Allowance is managed by the Disability and Carer's Service (part of the Department for Communities - DfC).

How to claim Attendance Allowance

If you live in England, Scotland or Wales then you can request a claim form by calling the Department for Work and Pensions' Attendance Allowance Helpline on 0800 731 0122 (textphone 0800 731 0317), Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm. You can ask them for help in filling out the form.

You can also download the claim forms through the GOV.UK website.

If you live in Northern Ireland, then you can request a claim form by calling the Disability and Carer's Service on 0800 587 0912 (textphone 0800 012 1574), Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm.

You can also download the claim form through the nidirect website.

How can I appeal the decision on my Attendance Allowance claim?

If your Attendance Allowance claim has been turned down, or you are unhappy with the amount you have been awarded and believe you are entitled to receive more, you can challenge the decision. Take a look at our benefits appeals page for more information on how you can do this.

Getting help to claim Attendance Allowance

We have written a factsheet that you can download that explains more about the claim form and gives you lots of useful tips for how to make an effective claim for Attendance Allowance: