Change of circumstances while you're getting Attendance Allowance
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
Telephone: 0300 123 3356
Textphone: 028 9031 1092
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.
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.
If a client's condition gets worse
If a client’s condition gets worse after they’ve been awarded Attendance Allowance they might qualify for a higher award. They can apply for their decision to be reconsidered - this is called a ‘Supersession on the grounds of change of circumstances’.
A supersession request can be made at any time. Clients must be warned before they make a request that it could possibly lead to them losing the Attendance Allowance they already have.
Applying for a supersession could mean the whole award will be reassessed - even the parts that aren’t being disputed. This means there is a risk that a client could lose Attendance Allowance. If they are already getting the lower rate and their supersession request is unsuccessful their award may not be changed or could be removed altogether.
How to apply for Supersession:
The best way to apply for supersession is by writing a letter asking the Disability and Carers Service to supersede the decision. The letter must explain the grounds for supersession and why it applies, and evidence should be provided if available (eg a new medical report).
A request for supersession can be made by phone, but it’s best to apply in writing in case proof is needed in the future. If a client prefers to call, they should also write to the Disability and Carers Service summarising what they talked about over the phone.
If the supersession request is successful the new decision generally takes effect from the date the client made their request. Exceptions can apply - where it is beneficial for the new decision to take effect earlier.
If the supersession request is unsuccessful, the client can apply for mandatory reconsideration and (if necessary) appeal. Clients should be warned that their existing award could also be possibly removed at either of these stages - so they must think carefully before challenging the decision.
Read more about supersessions in the main CPAG book or Disability Rights Handbook.