Many individuals continue to live alone and independently despite their old age. As these elderly people progress through life, they may need special help and supervision from professionals.
Thankfully, the United Kingdom has offered a government benefits scheme that can address this need. Called the Attendance Allowance initiative, this program seeks to provide elderly disabled individuals with the financial support and assistance they need.
If you are interested in learning more about this and how you can receive such benefits, make sure to read this article until the end.
Get to Know the Attendance Allowance Program – What Is It?
The Attendance Allowance program is a security benefit scheme that provides elderly disabled individuals from the UK with an allowance. It aims to alleviate the costs of hiring additional help for the elderly disabled who require personal care.
Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit designed for people at State Pension age or over. This type of allowance is paid for by the United Kingdom’s government, particularly by the Department for Work and Pensions.
This initiative was first introduced in the country in the 1970 National Insurance Act. Part of its condition is to provide the elderly disabled – either those living with physical, mental, or learning disabilities – with the financial support they need to cover their personal care.
How the Program Works
The government initiative works by providing aged disabled people with pension age or over with money for their personal care needs. This type of care includes assistance in daily living, such as getting dressed or going to the bathroom. This can also apply to help being given outside the home.
However, individuals living independently and who are aged and have a disability may also be given this allowance, provided they prove it to the government. They do not have to have someone to actually give them help with their daily activities.
Unlike other types of aid from the government, this UK allowance is not based on one’s means. This entails that the government is not looking into your account to see how much you earn or have before seeing you are qualified for the said program.
What the Attendance Allowance Scheme Offers
As mentioned, the Attendance Allowance initiative offers monetary benefits for qualified pension-age individuals. This will give individuals in question the amount the government deems matches the level of help they need. For this, the Attendance Allowance will pay out two different rates every single week.
Those who require help or supervision only either during the day or the night will get a lower rate of £59.70. Meanwhile, those who require care and supervision both day and night, as well as for those who are terminally ill, will get a higher rate of £89.15 per week.
People who qualify for this government benefit are required to report any change in circumstances, including conditions, or the level of care is required, and other details. This can affect the amount being extended as part of this UK allowance.
In addition, persons requiring a carer, or someone to look after them, may also seek additional Carer’s Allowance or Credit. However, this will only be given to carers who help and provide support to you for 20 hours per week for Credit assistance and 35 hours or more for a Carer’s Allowance.
Additional Benefits From the Attendance Allowance Initiative
The great thing about Attendance Allowance is that it does not affect nor take away from other existing or potential benefits or allowances you may receive from the U.K. government. Instead, you may still enjoy other benefits despite getting the Attendance Allowance.
Benefits such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefits, and Council Tax Reduction could still be given on top of the said UK allowance. In conjunction with the Attendance Allowance, you can also get an increase in the said benefits depending on the type of health condition or disability you possess.
This additional funding can go a great way in addressing various needs, especially in helping individuals maintain their independence while staying in the comforts of their own homes.
Eligibility Requirements for the Government Benefit Scheme
Attendance Allowance calls for individuals to be of State Pension age to qualify. As of writing, the state pension age is 66. Besides this, however, elderly individuals must have a physical, mental, or learning disability. This includes having sensory disabilities such as blindness.
Another qualification set out by the United Kingdom government for people to qualify to have a severe type of disability requires individuals to be cared for not only for their own sake but also to avoid putting other people in harm’s way.
People will also qualify if they are have required help or assistance for a minimum of six months. On the other hand, terminally ill individuals can make and file claims right away to get their Attendance Allowance faster.
Besides the aforementioned information, individuals intending to receive Attendance Allowance must also be living in Great Britain when they wish to claim the UK allowance. Those from the armed forces, as well as their respective family members, are the exception to the rule.
Moreover, you must have also lived in Great Britain for at least two years from the last three years. This, however, does not apply to refugees or those who have applied for humanitarian protection.
Last but certainly not least, you must have good records and not be subjected to immigration control unless you are a sponsored immigrant. As this is a government benefit, your place of residence, of course, must also be within the U.K., Channel Islands, Ireland, or the Isle of Man.
Special Qualifications to Consider
For terminally ill patients or those currently living with a progressive disease and are not expected to live for another six months, the Attendance Allowance program allows you to benefit quite faster than others.
This will give you higher rates without having to wait for six months to qualify for the program, as initially stated. However, people diagnosed with such conditions are still required to file an Attendance Allowance form.
They must also provide this alongside a DS1500 form filled out by a doctor.
Individuals living in the European Union (EU), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland may still get their Attendance Allowance. However, this can only be possible for UK nationals who have moved to the aforementioned locations.
Likewise, other special considerations that applicants need to bear in mind is that they will not be qualified for Attendance Allowance if they have been living in a care home and if their stay in this home is being paid by the local government.
This ruling can be bypassed and will allow the individual to receive their allowance on one condition. This is only possible if the applicant pays for their home care costs out of their own pocket.
Applying for the Attendance Allowance Program
To apply for the program and claim Allowance Attendance, individuals may course their application to the Department for Work and Pensions by post. The application form is available online for download. If you choose to go this route, you are not expected to purchase a stamp or postcode.
The online application form is the easiest and most convenient one to fill out. Apart from being downloadable, this can be filled out on your computer, saved, and printed out. This form can also be printed out and be filled out with a pen if this is what you prefer.
You will need to provide your national insurance number, proof of identification, and other supporting documents to detail your condition. This can include medical certificates and tests from your medical provider.
Alternative Ways of Applying for the Initiative
There are other ways of coursing your claim form for Attendance Allowance. One way is to call the Attendance Allowance hotline at 0800 731 0122 or text them at 0800 731 0317. You can ask the helpline for a copy of the form to be sent your way.
The helpline can also provide other formats for individuals with special needs. These include having claim forms with large prints for better views, an accompanying audio CD for the hard of hearing, and even braille for those who cannot see.
A video relay service using British Sign Language is also available for users in need. This can be found on the United Kingdom government website.
Claiming Attendance Allowance
After sending in your application form, it may take the government office around 25 days to process your claim. This countdown happens from the day the Disability and Carer’s Services or the Department for Work and Pensions receive the said application.
You can challenge decisions about your claim for those who disagree with the decision being given to them. This appeal, otherwise called a mandatory reconsideration, asks for a written statement on why the initial decision was made.
How the Attendance Allowance Is Paid Out
Benefits are paid right into your bank account. This can also be coursed through to your building society or credit union account. For those who are having difficulty managing or opening an account, you may reach out to the Department for Work and Pensions for further assistance.
Attendance Allowance is usually paid out every four weeks, while your Carer’s Allowance will be paid out weekly or the same as yours, which is every four weeks as well.
Should the payment date fall on a bank holiday or a weekend, the payout will most likely be done on a working day before the special dates mentioned.
The Bottom Line
Financial benefits in the form of Attendance Allowance are a great help. It allows aged individuals living with various medical and health conditions, and living on their own, make their life more bearable. From paying their bills or hiring outside help, this can certainly go a long way.