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Change of circumstances while you're getting Attendance Allowance

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

You need to tell the Disability and Carers Service as soon as possible if your condition changes - this can affect your Attendance Allowance.

You should call the Disability and Carers Service if:

  • your condition gets better or worse
  • the level of help and care you need changes
  • you go into hospital for more than 28 days
  • you go into a care home or residential care
  • you move abroad, either temporarily or permanently
  • you go into prison

Disability and Carers Service
Castle Court
Royal Avenue
Belfast
BT1 1HR

Tel: 0800 587 0912
Textphone: 028 9031 1092
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (closed bank holidays)

If you go into hospital

It's best to keep the Disability and Carers Service informed of any dates you go in and out of hospital. This will ensure you'll always get the right amount of Attendance Allowance and you won't have to pay any money back.

Your Attendance Allowance will stop after you've been in hospital for 28 days (4 weeks). You'll be paid again from the day that you leave hospital.

When working out how many days you've been in hospital, don't count the day you go in or the day you come out.

Going in and out of hospital over a period of time

If you're in hospital and come back out again, but then go back within 28 days, these periods in hospital will be 'linked' and added together. Here's an example of how it works:

Eliot goes into hospital on 1 January. He then returns home on 12 January. This means he's been in hospital for 10 full days (you don't count the first day or the last day).

Eliot has to go back to hospital on 19 January. Because he's been out of hospital for less than 28 days, these 2 periods in hospital become linked.
He keeps going in and out of hospital over the next few months but there's always less than 28 days between each hospital stay. This means that his linked periods in hospital will all add up over time. Eventually he has a total of 28 days of linked time in hospital. When he reaches the 28 days of linked time in hospital, Eliot's Attendance Allowance will stop. His Attendance Allowance will be paid again from the day he gets out of hospital.

If Eliot is out of hospital for more than 28 days, the linked period will end. A new linked period will start if he goes into hospital again.

If you live in a care home

It's best to keep the Disability and Carers Service informed of any dates when you go in and out of 'residential care' - for example, a care home. That way you'll always get the right amount of Attendance Allowance and won't have to pay any money back.

You'll be able to get Attendance Allowance for any days you're at home - even if it's just for part of the day.

You can still get Attendance Allowance if you're paying for the care home out of your own money. It's best to get help from your nearest Citizens Advice as there are some complex rules.

Example

If you're in a care home from Monday to Friday and are home at the weekend, you'll get Attendance Allowance for 4 days a week. Your Attendance Allowance will be paid for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

You won't get Attendance Allowance for Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday because you'll be in the care home.

If you're terminally ill and live in a care home or hospice

You can still get Attendance Allowance if you're terminally ill and live in a hospice.
Read more about how to claim Attendance Allowance if you have a terminal illness.

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