At MotaClarity, we understand that navigating the world of disability benefits can sometimes be a little overwhelming. One such benefit that can significantly impact the lives of older individuals facing mobility challenges is the Attendance Allowance. In this article, we aim to shed light on what Attendance Allowance is, its purpose, eligibility criteria, the application process, and how it can be used to extend and enhance the mobility of those who receive it.
Attendance Allowance is a vital financial support provided by the UK government to individuals over the state pension age who require assistance due to a physical or mental disability. This benefit is not means-tested, meaning it is not dependent on your income or savings, but rather on the level of care you need.
The primary purpose of Attendance Allowance is to assist individuals with the extra costs associated with personal care because of their disability or mobility issues. This could include help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, or even supervision due to cognitive impairments. The allowance comes in two rates: the lower rate, which is for those who need help either during the day or night, and the higher rate, designed for those who require assistance during both day and night.
Eligibility for Attendance Allowance is age dependant and focuses on the impact of a disability or mobility issue on an individual's daily life. To qualify, you must live in Great Britain (some minor exclusions apply), have reached state pension age and:
Attendance Allowance comes in two rates: the lower rate, which is currently £68.10 per week, and the higher rate, which is £101.75 per week (though it’s usually paid every 4 weeks). The rate you receive depends on the level of care you require, with the higher rate reserved for those who need help both day and night and / or who may have less than 12 months to live.
The money people receive from the Attendance Allowance benefit isn't taxable or means-tested – so your savings or income won't be affected.
Applying for Attendance Allowance is a straightforward process. You can request a form by calling the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0800 731 0122 or download it from the official government website. The form is comprehensive, requiring details about your medical condition, daily living activities, and any healthcare professionals involved in your care.
Once completed, simply send the form to the address listed, and a decision will be made based on the information provided and, if necessary, a medical assessment.
If you live in Northern Ireland, contact the Disability and Carers service and request a AA1A form, or you can download it here.
It's worth noting that the application process for Attendance Allowance doesn't involve a face-to-face assessment. Instead, decisions are based on the information provided in your application form, ensuring a more accessible and less stressful process.
Attendance Allowance can be a game-changer for those looking to regain their independence. The money received through the Attendance Allowance benefit can be spent on anything you like, but it isn’t specifically provided to cover mobility needs. As a result, you can’t use the Attendance Allowance to lease a car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV), mobility scooter or powered wheelchair through the Motability Scheme.
So, while being in receipt of the Attendance Allowance benefit doesn’t mean an individual qualifies for the Motability Scheme, the money received can be used to pay for a vehicle bought, financed or leased privately.
Some people who are over the state pension age do qualify for the Motability Scheme, if they are still in receipt of one of the qualifying DWP Mobility Allowances.
This has been questioned by many older people and charities, including Age UK who have argued that it is ‘unfair and discriminatory’. In their view, ‘older people who receive Attendance Allowance should be assessed for the [Motability Scheme] based on their mobility needs rather than receipt of DLA and PIP’.
The UK government has previously justified the state pension age limit for individuals claiming a Motability-qualifying disability benefit for the first time. They argue that it would cost too much, and believe that the focus should be on supporting younger disabled people to work and save.
Unlike those in receipt of DLA, PIP and ADP benefits, receiving the Attendance Allowance doesn’t automatically exempt someone from having to pay Vehicle Excise Duty (VED or car tax) either. This is another issue that campaigners are working hard to change.