Attendance Allowance is a non-means tested benefit for people aged 65 or over who need help with their personal care because of a physical or mental disability. It is paid at two different rates and how much you get depends of the level of care that you need because of your disability.
You cannot claim Attendance Allowance at the same time as Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.
Attendance Allowance does not cover mobility needs. Other benefits you get may increase if you get Attendance Allowance.
Information updated August 2018. Please note that information may be subject to change. All information is provided in good faith but Disability Information Scotland does not endorse any product or service referred to within this resource.
What you will get
Attendance Allowance is paid weekly at 2 different rates – the one you get depends on the level of help you need.
If your claim is successful it is always advisable to have a benefit check for the household. You may get extra Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction if you get Attendance Allowance -or it may be possible for someone to claim Carer’s Allowance.
Level of help you need: Frequent help or constant supervision during the day, or prolonged or repeated help or supervision at night
Level of help you need: Help or supervision throughout both day and night, or you’re terminally ill
You can get Attendance Allowance if you’re 65 or over and the following apply:
- you have a physical disability (including sensory disability, eg blindness), a mental disability (including learning difficulties), or both
- and your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself or someone to supervise you, for your own or someone else’s safety
You must also:
- be in Great Britain when you claim – there are some exceptions, e.g. members and family members of the Armed Forces
- have been in Great Britain for at least 2 of the last 3 years
- be habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands
- not be subject to immigration control (unless you’re a sponsored immigrant)
There are some exceptions to these conditions if you’re living in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.
How to claim
1. Call the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Attendance Allowance helpline. Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
Tel: 0800 731 0122
Text: 0800 731 0317
2. They will send out an information pack and self-assessment form. It is important to include as much detailed and accurate evidence about your care needs at this stage. You can also find the forms online at the GOV.UK Website.
3. Attendance Allowance can be backdated to the date of your claim. This is usually the date you call the enquiry line (if you return the claim pack within 6 weeks) or the date the DWP receive your form if you opt for the online form. It usually takes 40 working days to deal with your claim. It can be quicker if you’re terminally ill.
4. When making a claim for benefits it is always advisable to speak with an expert that understands the entire benefits system. As well as help with completing benefit forms, an expert can help you work out what you’re entitled to or to appeal a decision you disagree with.
5. You might need a medical assessment to complete your application in which case you will get a letter saying you need to attend an assessment to check your eligibility. The letter will explain why and where you must go.
6. At the assessment you will be asked for identification. You can use a passport or any 3 of the following:
- birth certificate
- a full driving licence
- life assurance policy
- bank statement
7. Special rules – if you’re terminally ill
There are ‘special rules’ so you get Attendance Allowance more quickly if you’re not expected to live more than 6 months. You must:
- complete an Attendance Allowance form
- include a DS1500 medical condition report or send it soon after – these are free and you can only get them from a doctor, specialist or consultant
You can do this on behalf of someone else without their permission. The letter about the money awarded won’t mention ‘special rules’
Appeal a decision
You can appeal against the decision about your Attendance Allowance if you’re unhappy with it.
Phone or write to Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and ask for the decision to be looked at again – this known as a mandatory reconsideration. This must be done within one month of the decision letter. The telephone number and address will be on your decision letter.
You should explain why you think the decision is wrong and show any evidence you have to support this.
DWP will write to you in due course to tell you they have made a new decision or the decision has not been changed.
They will send you 2 copies of the mandatory reconsideration notice which explains the reasons for changing or not changing the decision.
You can then appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal if you’re still unhappy.
For further information please see our Benefit Appeals and Reconsiderations information guide.
Search online for details of local disability information services and welfare rights services.
Tel: 0800 731 0317
Text: 0800 731 0122
Information last updated on 4 June 2020. Please note that information may be subject to change. All information is provided in good faith but Disability Information Scotland does not endorse any product or service referred to within this resource.
If you would like this information guide in another version then please contact us and we will post or email you a copy.
Money, Benefits & Grants:Frequently Asked Questions
Through our helpline we receive enquiries spanning a wide range of different topics. Here is a selection of those most asked:
How can I appeal a PIP decision?
It is always a good idea to seek advice when challenging decisions. An advice agency will be able to tell you if you have a good case; how to obtain medical or other evidence; and may be able to represent you at an appeal hearing. In some cases there is a risk of losing a benefit if you challenge a decision. You can also search the Scottish Disability Directory to find your local welfare rights service.
You can challenge a decision if you think it is wrong according to the rules. The decision about your PIP is set out in a letter that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) send you. This is called the decision letter. The date on the letter is the decision date.
A Mandatory Reconsideration is the first step when challenging a PIP decision. It is asking the DWP to look at the decision again. You must normally ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration within one month of the decision date.
Appeal to Tribunal is the second step of challenging a PIP decision. You can normally only do this after you have got a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.
For more information see our Benefit Appeals & Reconsideration Guide.
How will PIP affect my ability to use the Motability Scheme?
The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to lease a car, powered wheelchair or scooter. Eligibility to use the Motability Scheme is based on receiving one of the following benefits.
- Higher Rate Mobility Component of DLA
- Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
Awarded the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP
For existing Scheme customers, their eligibility to remain on the Motability Scheme will depend on the outcome of their assessment for PIP. If you are awarded the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP you should not experience any disruption to your lease as you move from one benefit to the other.
NOT awarded the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP
If you are not awarded the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP you will not be eligible to use the Motability Scheme. Being forced to leave the Scheme will be a difficult transition for you and your family.
The Motability Scheme has put in place a one-off package of transitional support to those customers who can no longer use the Scheme as a result of their initial DLA to PIP reassessment. This transitional package will include guidance on your mobility options and next steps, financial support if eligible, advice on buying a second hand car, information on insurance, maintenance and other mobility solutions, as well as the purchase price of your vehicle. You will be able to keep the car for eight weeks after the DLA payments stop.
In addition, if you first joined the Scheme before the end of 2013 you will have the option to keep the car for 26 weeks after the last DLA payment. If you choose to keep the car for this extended period your transitional support payment will be reduced.
For further details of the transitional support process please visit the Motability website. Their website has a useful section with more detailed information on the transitional support package. You can also phone the Motability Scheme helpline on 0300 456 4566.
Am I eligible for a reduction on Vehicle tax?
You might be eligible for a reduction or exemption on vehicle tax if you are disabled and meet the eligibility criteria. The vehicle must be registered in the disabled person’s name or nominated driver’s name and must only be used for the disabled person’s personal needs.
You can apply for exemption from paying vehicle tax if you get the:
- higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
You can get a 50% reduction in vehicle tax if you get the PIP standard rate mobility component.
For more information contact our helpline on 0300 323 9962.
How can I find out what benefits might I be eligible for?
A good first step to see whether you are eligible to apply for certain benefits is to have a ‘benefits check’. A benefits check is a calculation that will include an estimate of what and how much you might get. You can get a check at your local welfare rights project, local Council Money Advice or Citizens Advice Bureau. Some housing associations and GP surgeries might also offer them.
You can also use the Turn2us benefit calculator online.
Before doing a benefits check, you will need information about any savings, income, pension, childcare payments or existing benefits (for both yourself and your partner).
To find your local welfare rights service search our Scottish Disability Directory. or contact our helpline on 0300 323 9961.
What support is available to help keep warm this winter?
At this time of year fuel costs increase and it can be difficult to keep yourself warm and cosy!
The good news is there are different grants and schemes available throughout the country to help people improve the heating in their homes and keep heating costs down. Check out our Help to heat your home guide for more information on what you might be eligible for.
Home Energy Scotland is a free impartial energy advice service to help people save money and keep their homes warmer. They offer simple energy saving tips, make referrals to funding schemes and can arrange benefits and tax credit checks to help people access available assistance.
If you would like more information about how you can help heat your home then please call Home Energy Scotland’s free helpline on 0808 808 2282 to check what support you might be entitled to. You can also text WARM to 60163 for a call back or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From layering up with fleeces and blankets, to keeping refueled with hot drinks, there are ways that you can help keeps yourself cosier and keeps fuel costs down. For some extra tips check out our Get Winter Ready blog and/or the Home Energy Scotland ‘Keeping your home warm this winter’ blog.
Am I eligible for VAT relief on disability equipment?
In general, disabled people do not have to pay VAT on goods and services that are designed/ or adapted solely for use by disabled people. These goods and services are often called ‘zero-rated’ or ‘eligible for VAT relief’.
The majority of suppliers will know if their product has been specifically designed to help disabled people. They will offer their products free of VAT at the point of sale.
You’ll need to confirm in writing that you meet these conditions. Your supplier may give you a form for this.
Most suppliers will use the Notice 701/7 VAT relief for disabled people form.
For further information see our VAT Exemption for Disabled Goods Information Guide or call our helpline on 0300 323 9961.
Money, Benefits & Grants:Search for Local Organisations
Our quick search tool can connect you to over 3000 service providers, suppliers and organisations supporting people across Scotland. To find support near you, simply enter your search term and select your local authority.