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Claiming Attendance Allowance if you're terminally ill

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

You should apply for Attendance Allowance straight away if you meet the eligibility criteria - it doesn't matter how long you've had your illness or disability.

There's a quick application process for people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and aren't expected to live more than 6 months.

Once you apply you'll get a decision back within about a week.

If you're not a UK citizen, you should check the eligibility rules. Your immigration status could be affected if you apply for benefits when you're not eligible. You can contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help.

How much you can get

You'll get the highest rate of £82.30 if your Attendance Allowance claim is successful.

Applying for someone else

You can apply for Attendance Allowance for someone else, for example if they:

  • don't know their illness is terminal
  • are too ill to apply
  • are struggling to come to terms with their diagnosis

You can sign the form for them if they can't sign it themselves - you don't need to have the authority to act for them. It's best to tell them you're applying for Attendance Allowance for them but you don't need to say it's because they're terminally ill.

The money will be paid to them rather than you, even if you've signed the form for them.

You don't need to worry about the person you're applying for finding out they're terminally ill. The Disability and Carers Service won't mention it when they contact them about their Attendance Allowance claim.

You can talk to an adviser at your nearest Citizens Advice if you need help.

How to apply

1. Phone for an application form

Phone the Disability and Carers Service and ask them to send you a form. You should tell them you're terminally ill and applying under the Disability and Carers Service's 'special rules' - then they'll know your application needs to be fast-tracked. You'll need to give your name, address, phone number and date of birth.

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)

Your payments will be backdated to when you phoned if you send the form back within 6 weeks. If you send it after 6 weeks, your payments will only be backdated to when the Disability and Carers Service gets the form.

It's best to phone - if you download an application form from nidirect.gov.uk yourself, you'll only be paid from the date that the Disability and Carers Service receives the form.

2. Ask your doctor for a 'DS1500 medical condition report'

Ask your doctor, specialist or consultant for a 'DS1500 medical condition report'. This is a form describing your conditions and treatments - you'll need to send it with your Attendance Allowance application. You won't have to pay for this report.

If you're applying for Attendance Allowance for someone else who's terminally ill, you need to ask their doctor or a specialist or consultant for a DS1500 medical condition report to send with the form.

You can ask your doctor to send the DS1500 directly to the Disability and Carers Service.

3. Fill in the application form

You won't have to fill in the full application form if you have a terminal illness - you don't have to answer the questions about personal tasks . See the notes on page 8 of the form - they will tell you what you do and don't have to fill in.

You'll need to tick the box in Question 19 so that the Disability and Carers Service knows you're applying under the 'special rules'.

4. Send the application form and DS1500

You should send the Attendance Allowance form back as soon as possible - if you can, send it back within 6 weeks.

If you don't have a DS1500 report from your doctor and the 6 weeks time limit is approaching, you should send the form anyway. Include a letter explaining you'll send the DS1500 report at a later date - this way you'll still get paid from the date you phoned for the form.

It's a good idea to make a copy of your filled-in application form and any other documents you send. This will be useful if you need to refer to them later.

Send the form and the DS1500 to:

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)

5. See what other benefits you could get

Getting Attendance Allowance can also mean you're eligible for other help and benefits. Read about the other help you can get and benefits you might be able to claim.

What happens after you've applied

You'll usually get a decision letter within 2 weeks - this will tell you whether or not you'll get Attendance Allowance. Contact the helpline if you haven't received a letter within 2 weeks - they will check whether a decision has been made for you.

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)

You can appeal the decision if you're turned down. Contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help.

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