Attendance Allowance

You can claim attendance allowance if you are disabled, have reached pension age and need help to look after yourself.

You do not actually have to be getting any help. It is the help you need that is important.

 

Contents

Who can get attendance allowance?

Attendance allowance disability tests

Attendance allowance qualifying period condition

Attendance allowance residence and presence tests

How much is attendance allowance?

How to claim attendance allowance

Keeping a diary

Making use of the diary

Attendance allowance in hospital

Find out more

 

Who can get attendance allowance?

To get attendance allowance you must:

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Attendance allowance disability tests

Lower rate

For the lower rate of attendance allowance, you must meet one of the following conditions. You need:

during the day:

or during the night:

Higher rate

For the higher rate of attendance allowance, you must meet either of the following. You:

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Attendance allowance qualifying period condition

You will need to have met the disability tests for six months before you can be paid. This rule does not apply if you are nearing the end of your life.

If you already have lower rate attendance allowance, you can qualify for the higher rate after you have needed the greater level of attention or supervision for six months.

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Attendance allowance residence and presence tests

To qualify for attendance allowance, you must satisfy the residence and presence tests. For this, you must:

  • be present in Great Britain* and have been present in Great Britain* for two out of the last three years before claiming; and
  • be habitually resident in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Republic of Ireland or the Isle of Man (see below).

'Present' means physically present in Great Britain*. There are rules that may allow you to be treated as present during a temporary absence. 

If you are terminally ill or have been granted refugee leave or humanitarian protection, you only have to be currently present in Great Britain*, you do not need to have been present in Great Britain* for two out of the last three years before claiming.

There is no legal definition of 'habitual residence'. Relevant factors are where you normally live, where you expect to live in future, your reasons for coming to this country, the length of time spent abroad before you came here, and any ties you still have with the country where you have come from.

* or Northern Ireland, if you live there

For more information see our Disability Rights Handbook

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How much is attendance allowance?

Weekly lower rate - £68.10 (from 10 April 2023) 
Weekly higher rate - £101.75 (from 10 April 2023) 

Attendance allowance is tax free and not means tested.

Any savings you have do not affect your attendance allowance.

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How to claim attendance allowance

You can call and ask for a form AA1.

Telephone: 0800 731 0122
Textphone: 0800 731 0317

Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0122

If you return the completed form within six weeks, it will be backdated to the day you asked for it.

You can also download an Attendance Allowance form

If you are deaf and use British Sign Language, you may be able to claim using a video relay service.

For Northern Ireland, call 0800 587 0912 (Text phone 0800 012 1574). You can also download a Northern Ireland claim form

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Keeping a diary

Writing a short diary of your day-to-day needs can lend support to your attendance allowance claim. It can also be important when trying to explain needs that fluctuate either during a single day or over a longer period.

One-day diary - The simplest form of diary would be an account of your needs over a typical day. Start from the time you get up in the morning, through a 24-hour period, ending with the time you get up the following morning. Try to list all the times when you need help from someone or you have difficulties because there is no one around to help. When you write something down, try to answer the following questions: 

  • what help do you need?
  • why do you need the help?
  • at what time do you need help? and
  • how long do you need the help for?

If your needs vary from day to day, keep the diary over a few days to get a clearer picture of your needs.

Long-term diary - Long-term diaries can be useful when explaining more sporadic problems caused by your condition, such as stumbles, falls or fits. If you need continual supervision or watching over, such a diary can show exactly what happened or what could have happened if someone had not been there to intervene.

Making use of the diary

Once you have finshed the diary, write your name and National Insurance number on it and make several copies of it. Attach a copy to the claim-form; keep a copy for yourself. Finally, you should send copies of the diary to anyone that you have listed on the claim-form, such as the GP, consultant or specialist nurse.

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Attendance allowance in hospital

Both the day you are admitted and the day you are discharged count as days out of hospital.

Attendance allowance stops after a total of four weeks (either in one stay, or several stays, where the gaps between stays are no more than four weeks each time).

If you claim attendance allowance when you are already in hospital, it cannot be paid until you leave.

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Find out more

This resource makes reference in several places to our resources glossary. Definitions of terms in this resource and others on our website are found there.

Advice

Use advicelocal to get advice in your area.

See also our Getting Advice guide

Find out more

If you are an adviser see our Disability Rights Handbook

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Other resources

Format: 24/02/2024
Format: 24/02/2024
Benefits