Attendance Allowance: Age UK helps man claim benefit
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Delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Attendance Allowance is one of the UK’s most under-claimed benefits. Around 3.4 million people who have reached the State Pension age are thought to be eligible but aren’t claiming it. This could be because the application forms for the support require some “thought and guidance”, according to the online support group Age Space.
Britons can claim Attendance Allowance if they are over State Pension age, need help with personal care, such as getting washed or dressed, need supervision to keep them safe during the day or night, or have any type of disability or illness.
This includes sight or hearing impairments, or mental health issues such as dementia.
To be eligible, people will have needed help for at least six months prior to making a claim.
If a person is terminally ill, they can make a claim straight away.
The Attendance Allowance form requires a person to answer personal questions which can be emotionally draining.
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The form is long and can take a fair bit of time to complete.
Britons are advised to contact their local Citizens Advice for help with the application.
People can also ask a friend, relative or carer if a person would rather they help them with it.
It is advised that people read the notes that come with your Attendance Allowance claim form before they start filling it in.
Britons will be required to list their conditions on this form, so need to be sure that they include them all.
They will also need to state how long they have had these conditions but Age Space states that they “don’t have to be absolutely precise”.
In their application, people will need to provide their National Insurance number and their GP details.
They will also have to include a list of all the medications they take.
The DWP will use the application form to work out the entitlement and it will be looking to see what difficulties a person has and how much help they need.
They will also note how often a person has difficulties and what sort of help they require.
Questions 27-43 on the form ask about the specific care needs with personal tasks a person has.
Personal tasks include things such as washing, getting out of bed or getting dressed, going to the toilet, and being reminded or encouraged to eat or drink.
Help with personal tasks does not mean helping with things like housework, gardening or general tasks around the home.
These questions provide empty boxes for a person to explain their needs and it is “very important” that people provide as much detail and explanation as possible.
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Applicants are reminded that those who are making the decision on their application are not medical professionals and will need as much information as possible to make a decision.
This means that no detail is too small, so if something is too painful, makes a person feel breathless, makes them unsteady, or takes a long time then it should be noted.
Applicants should highlight if they need support with personal tasks at least three times a day.
They should also note if they have difficulty or need someone to supervise them throughout the day to make sure they stay safe.
An example of this would be that someone needs to be around to stop them from falling or to look after them if have seizures or blackouts.
People will need to report whether this support is needed throughout the day and night, even if it is only just for 20 minutes.
Citizens Advice recommends that people keep a diary of their needs for at least a week before they fill in the form.
The diary can give a person a “good idea” about their care needs.
Successful claimants will receive either £81.85 or £92.40 each week depending on the level of care they need because of their health condition.
Attendance Allowance is paid every four weeks and works out at £247.40 and £369.560 respectively.
The financial support is not means-tested, so income and savings will have no bearing on whether or not a person qualifies.
It is also tax-exempt, so there’s no need to declare it as income.
If a person’s claim is successful, they may also be entitled to other benefits including Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or a Council Tax reduction.
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