Attendance Allowance: Help for the Severely Disabled

What is Attendance Allowance?

Attendance allowance is a kind of benefit granted to persons who are 65 years old and older, who are also ill or disabled and their situation requires outside personal care or supervision. People who are in this situation may also need another person to watch over them because of their physical disability or mental illness.

An attendance allowance is gauged on the help you need and not on the help you actually receive.

If you are severely disabled and you want to avail of this benefit, you do not need to have an attendant to care for you. A situation like this likewise applies whether you live alone on your home or with other people, such as family members or relatives. The conditions of this benefit do not impose whether you receive much help and support or none at all. In fact, whatever benefit you may receive as an attendance allowance and its disposition will depend on your discretion: you do not have to use the money to pay for care or to compensate your caregiver, should you have one. You can spend it in the way you want.

Attendance allowance is not subject to tax nor is it based on your national insurance contributions and thereby keeps your financial details private and secure. In fact, the grant of this benefit can enable you for other and higher benefits.

The duration of the ‘longer period’ mentioned lasts for about 20 minutes or over.

How to qualify for attendance allowance?

To be eligible for attendance allowance, you must comply with the following requisites: (1) must be at least 65 years old; (2) must meet the requirements of either or both of the daytime or night-time disability conditions; (3) must have been ill either in daytime or night-time conditions for at least six months, except for those who are terminally ill; (4) must be habitually residing in the UK or for those who are claiming from abroad, must have been living in the UK for at least 26 out of the 52 weeks from the date of the claim. 

*Note that terminally ill people have special rules.

Disability Conditions

You would be required to undergo a disability test. In order to succeed, you must meet at least one of either or both the daytime or night-time disability conditions. 

Daytime disability condition

The physical or mental severity of your disability must be of a nature that the assistance you require from another person is frequent in a day in relation to your bodily functions or you need continued supervision throughout the day to prevent danger to yourself and other people around you.

Night-time disability condition

The physical or mental severity of your disability must be of a nature that the assistance you require from another person needs prolonged or repeated attendance in relation to your bodily functions or you need another person to be awake for a longer period or at frequent intervals of time to watch over you to prevent danger to yourself and other people around you. 

The Amount for Attendance Allowance

The amount granted varies on your condition. If you meet the conditions for both daytime and night-time disability, you will receive a higher rate as opposed to just being eligible for either one. For the years 2009 and 2010, the higher attendance allowance is pegged at £70.35 while the lower rate is £47.10.