If you have a health problem that means you need help with your personal care, you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance (AA) and get extra money each week to support you.
AA is not means tested so you can claim it regardless of your income and savings. The rate you get depends on the help you need. It doesn’t matter if you are actually getting help; the important thing is that you need it. You can spend it on care or a carer, in any other way you choose.
There are two weekly rates:
- £85.60 if you need help both in the day and at night
- £57.30 if you need help in the day or at night.
Can I claim it?
- You must be aged 65 or over.
- You must have a physical or mental disability, or be terminally ill.
- You must need help with personal care, such as dressing and washing, or supervision to keep you safe, during the day or night.
- You must have a long-term condition or health need, and have needed help for six months, before you can receive Attendance Allowance. However, if you are terminally ill you can claim straight away.
How do I claim?
If you’re already claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP), you’ll continue to receive these payments after your 65th birthday, provided you continue to meet the qualifying conditions.
You can get a claim form by calling the Disability & Carers Service on 0800 587 0912.
Alternatively, contact the Age NI Advice and Advocacy Service on 0808 808 7575 to claim or download a claim form.
Making an application for Attendance Allowance
When completing a form for disability benefits, do not underestimate your needs. Think about all the things you can’t do, or have trouble with, because of your condition.
- Describe any accidents or falls you have had.
- Explain the effects of all your disabilities and health conditions, and how they interact with each other.
- List things you struggle to do unaided, even if you have developed special ways to cope with certain activities. If an activity takes much longer than it would somebody without a disability, or if it is difficult to do safely, that can be taken into account.
- Give plenty of information in your own words about your personal circumstances. Don’t worry if you need to repeat yourself.
Bear in mind that Attendance Allowance (AA) does not take into account problems with things like housework, shopping and gardening, so it is not worth mentioning them. Contact the Age NI Advice and Advocacy Service for help to fill in the form and increase your chances of being awarded a disability benefit.
What if the application is turned down?
If your application is turned down, call the Age NI Advice and Advocacy Service to ask whether you should challenge the decision. Look at all the common care needs below - did you miss any out?
Remember that your needs may change and increase, so even if you are not eligible for Attendance Allowance now, you may be able to claim successfully in the future.
Common care needs to include
Here are a few examples of what to consider when explaining your care needs.
Washing, bathing and looking after your appearance
Do you need help getting in and out of the bath or shower; adjusting shower controls; shaving, putting on make-up; washing or drying your hair?
Going to the toilet
Do you need help adjusting your clothes after using the toilet; using the toilet during the night; changing clothes or bedding if you have an accident?
Getting dressed or undressed
Do you need help with fastenings, shoelaces and buttons or to recognise if your clothes are on correctly?
Do you need help or encouragement to plan and prepare a meal; can you peel and chop vegetables and use the cooker; do you need help eating and drinking?
Help with medical treatment
Do you need help to identify your tablets; to read and understand instructions about taking medication; to manage a condition like diabetes; to recognise if your condition deteriorates; to adjust your hearing aid?
Getting around indoors
Do you need help to navigate stairs; to get up from a chair; to get in and out of bed; to move safely from room to room?
Do you need help to understand or hear people, or to be understood by them; to answer the phone; to read and write letters?
Do you need someone to watch over you in case you have a seizure or fall; to give you medication for angina or asthma attacks; to help calm you down during a panic attack?
Download the forms
Visit the nidirect website to download an Attendance Allowance claim form
Every year our Advice Service deals with thousands of calls from older people in need. Call us today to make sure that you are receiving all the help and support available to you.