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We know that the spiralling cost of living is causing a lot of anxiety to older people and their families and that too many people will struggle with rising costs this winter.  In light of this, we are launching a new campaign to ensure that people are aware of and receiving all the support to which they are entitled. 

Attendance Allowance (AA)

Attendance Allowance (AA) is not ‘means tested’ or taxed. It is intended to help people over state pension age with an illness or disabilities, who have been having difficulties or needing help with personal care for 6 months or more (but you can claim immediately if you have a terminal illness). 

The money that Attendance Allowance awards you is to give you the option to get someone to help you if you wish. If you decide not to, then you can use the money for something else – it’s not just help with personal care that can make life easier

Attendance Allowance is paid at two rates:

  • Lower rate if you have difficulties during either the day or the night

  • Higher rate if you have difficulties during both the day and the night

You can check the current rate at

It is possible to move to the higher rate later if needed.

  • Order an application form by calling 0800 731 0122. You will have six weeks from the day you order the form to fill it in and return it to the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP). If you do this, any payment will be backdated to the date the form was ordered. If you are late in sending it back, put in a letter explaining why it has taken so long to fill in. You can also download a form from but you’ll only be paid from the date that the DWP receive the form.

We have some top tips on completing the form please download here

What to do if your claim is turned down:

If you feel that the DWP may not have made the right decision, you will have to start by asking the DWP to look at their decision again (“mandatory reconsideration”) or to reapply. If the DWP ‘re-consider’ your claim and turn you down again, you can apply directly to an appeal tribunal if you wish.

Mandatory Reconsideration: Call the number on your decision letter within 1 month of the date on the letter. The DWP office that dealt with your claim will get a different decision maker to look at your claim. You can submit more information at this point if you feel you may have missed something out. You will need to explain why you think the benefit should be paid or a higher rate given.

Appeal: You will need to complete the form SSCS1 within 1 month of the date on your mandatory reconsideration notice letter. An independent tribunal will look at your claim. It is helpful to submit further information to support your claim such as a letter from your doctor or social worker or your care diary, and you will need to explain why you think the benefit should be paid or a higher rate given.

Reapply: It is possible to re-apply straight away if you decide not to ask for a mandatory reconsideration or appeal, but you may feel that you need some time to think about the difficulties you have and perhaps keep a care diary for a couple of weeks.

Pension Credit

To check eligibility use the Age UK Benefits Calculator here - Benefit calculator ( 

Pension Credit, which also serves as a gateway to other forms of support, could go a long way in helping some older people meet rising costs, however across the county an estimated 4,372 older people are not claiming the benefit to which they’re entitled, equating to a staggering £8,240,700 in unclaimed entitlement locally.

We are determined to ensure that all local older people are receiving the financial help to which they’re entitled, and so if you think you, a family member, or someone you care for might be entitled to Pension Credit, we strongly urge you to check.

If it was the lottery, you’d at least check your ticket!

To check eligibility use the Age UK Benefits Calculator here - Benefit calculator ( 

An Age UK briefing (July ‘22) cites a range of inter-related reasons why people do not receive their entitlements including:

  • Lack of awareness

  • An assumption that they would not be entitled to help

  • Not knowing how to go about making a claim

  • A concern that the process will be complicated

  • A reluctance to provide personal information

  • Negative attitudes about receiving benefits or asking for help

This short video from the Department for Work and Pensions promotes doing a benefits check (even if you have savings or property) and explains the things you may gain alongside the Pension Credit itself.

To complete a benefits check to see whether you or someone you care for is eligible for Pension Credit or other benefits you can use the Age UK Benefits Calculator by clicking here - Benefit calculator (

To find out more about Pension Credit you can visit this information page -

If you require additional information and support, we have produced an Information Sheet which you can download below. This also provides information about local advice agencies who can help.

We have created a Pension Credit ready reckoner  to give you a good initial indication of whether you or someone you care for might be eligible for Pension Credit. - View here 

Food Support

There are many ways in which you can access support to obtain food.

Food Banks: These are organisations supporting people finding it very hard to buy food. Food banks usually require you to be referred, but some accept self-referrals.

Community Larders: These are hubs where you can access food that is surplus, enabling you to save some money on your food bills. They often offer additional services, information and advice, and a café. They are for the local community and offer somewhere to connect with people locally, to meet friendly faces and catch up with neighbours.

Whatever your level of need there is no judgement. Good Food Oxford has a great map here where you can search for your nearest food support -

Warm Spaces

Many people will find it harder to heat their home this winter due to the increase in energy costs. There are many organisations, churches, libraries and other venues that are opening their doors to people for free this winter and providing a welcoming warm space. These warm spaces also offer an opportunity to connect with people locally. You can find your local warm spaces here - 

Energy Support for those living in park homes

If you do not have a direct relationship with your electricity supplier, for example, you live in a park home, you can now apply online to receive the support as a one-off, non-repayable lump sum.

For those without online access, a dedicated customer helpline is available to assist eligible customers. The deadline to apply is 31st May 2023.

To apply call 0808 175 3287 or visit 

At Age UK Oxfordshire we can offer advice and guidance for making an application. Please call 0345 450 1276