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Check if you're entitled to Attendance Allowance

This advice applies to Scotland

You need to be 65 or over to claim Attendance Allowance. You also need to have a disability or illness that makes it hard for you to look after yourself.

You could get £55.65 or £83.10 a week to spend however you like. The amount you get will depend on how much help you need. It could help you stay independent in your own home for longer.

Who can claim

You should apply for Attendance Allowance if you have a disability or illness and need help or supervision throughout the day or at times during the night (even if you don’t currently get that help):

  • with your personal care - for example getting dressed, eating or drinking, getting in and out of bed, bathing or showering and going to the toilet

  • to stay safe

You should also apply if you have difficulties with personal tasks, for example if they take you a long time, you experience pain or you need physical help, like a chair to lean on. It might help if you compare how you do the personal tasks now to how you used to do them.

Attendance Allowance isn’t just for people with a physical disability or illness. You should also claim if you need help or supervision throughout the day or night and have:

  • a mental health condition

  • learning difficulties

  • a sensory condition - for example if you’re deaf or blind

Special rules apply if you’re terminally ill. Read more about applying for Attendance Allowance if you’re terminally ill.

The 6-month rule

You must have had care or supervision needs because of your disability or illness for at least 6 months before you can get Attendance Allowance.

You don't need to have had a diagnosis for your condition to apply for Attendance Allowance. For example, you might still be having tests or appointments to find out what's wrong with you. As long as you've needed help or supervision, or you've had difficulties, for 6 months because of your condition you can claim Attendance Allowance. 

You can save time with your claim by applying before the end of the 6 months but you won't get any money until then.

If you’re in hospital

You can apply for Attendance Allowance if you’re currently in hospital but you won’t get any money until you leave.

If you’re living in a care home

You can’t usually claim Attendance Allowance if you live in a care home and your care is paid for by your local authority. You can still claim Attendance Allowance if you pay for all your care home costs yourself.

There are exceptions, for example if you pay for all your care home costs yourself and you don't get 'free personal care payments' from your local authority.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you need help.

If you're living in a hospice

You can get Attendance Allowance if you’re terminally ill and living in a hospice.

Read more about how to claim Attendance Allowance if you have a terminal illness.

If you’re not from the UK

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.

If you’re an EEA national living in the UK , you’ll need to meet the habitual residence test.

You normally can’t apply if you’re subject to immigration control, for example if you need a visa to live or work in the UK, or you have a visa that says “no recourse to public funds”.

Attendance Allowance helpline

Telephone: 0345 605 6055

Textphone: 0345 604 5312

Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls cost up to 12p a minute from landlines, or from 3p to 45p a minute from mobiles.

If you’ve lived outside the country

Regardless of what your immigration status is, you must have lived in England, Scotland and Wales for at least 104 weeks out of the last 156 to claim Attendance Allowance. These don’t need to be consecutive weeks - as long as you’ve lived in England, Scotland or Wales for any 104 weeks out of the last 156 it will count. This works out as 2 years out of the last 3.

If you're terminally ill, a refugee or immediate family member of a refugee, it doesn't matter how long you've lived in the country - you can apply straight away.

If you haven't lived in the country for 2 years

If you haven't lived in England, Scotland or Wales for 2 of the last 3 years you might still qualify if you've lived in another EEA country for some of that time. Time spent in other EEA countries can sometimes count towards the 2-year rule.

You could also qualify if you've lived in another EEA country but are now habitually resident in the UK with a link to the UK social security system.

The rules in this area are complicated and it's best to get advice before you apply. Contact your local Citizens Advice for help.

Being habitually resident

You might be habitually resident in the UK if you've returned to the UK with the intention to stay for the foreseeable future. For example, you've registered with your local doctor, moved your bank accounts to the UK, joined clubs and societies, or given up ties to your life in the other country.

Check if you're habitually resident

You might have a link to the UK social security system if:

  • you've spent a significant part of your life in the UK
  • you've worked and paid National Insurance in the UK
  • you're dependent on a family member who has worked and paid National Insurance in the UK

You might also have a link if you (or a family member you depend on) get any of these benefits:

  • Jobseeker's Allowance (contribution based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (contribution based)
  • Bereavement Payment or Allowance
  • State Pension
  • Widowed Parent's Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Widow's Pension
  • Widowed Mother's Allowance
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