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Check if you're entitled to Attendance Allowance

This advice applies to Scotland

You need to be State Pension age to claim Attendance Allowance. You can check what your State Pension age is at GOV.UK.

You also need to have a disability or illness that makes it hard for you to look after yourself.

You could get £58.70 or £87.65 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 already get other disability benefits

You won't be able to get Attendance Allowance if you already get Personal Independent Payment (PIP) or if you get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to pay for your care (the ‘care component’ of DLA).

If you apply for Attendance Allowance while getting DLA, the DWP will usually reassess your DLA award instead. If you were born on or after 9 April 1948, you’ll be moved from DLA to PIP, and you might get less money. Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you’re not sure about what you can claim.

You can renew your PIP or DLA when the existing award ends as long as you still meet the eligibility criteria.

If your renewal is unsuccessful you can apply for Attendance Allowance instead.

If you've lived outside of the UK

You’ll need to give evidence to show the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man is your main home and you plan to stay. This is known as being ‘habitually resident’.

Check how to prove you’re habitually resident.

You must also have lived in Great Britain for 2 out of the last 3 years. Great Britain is England, Wales and Scotland. It doesn’t include Northern Ireland.

Your time spent in Great Britain doesn't need to have been in one go. For example, you could have lived in England for 1 year, the USA for 1 year and Wales for 1 year.

You might still be eligible if you haven’t lived in Great Britain for enough time, but you have lived in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

If you haven’t lived in Great Britain for enough time

You might be eligible if you’ve either:

  • worked and paid National Insurance in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein for 2 out of the last 3 years
  • claimed benefits in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein for 2 out of the last 3 years

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

You might also be eligible if you’ve got a ‘genuine and sufficient link’ to the UK.

You have a ‘genuine and sufficient link’ if any of these apply:

  • you’ve lived in the UK for nearly 2 years
  • you work or are self-employed, and pay National Insurance in the UK
  • you have a family member who works or is self-employed, and pays National Insurance in the UK
  • you have close family in the UK who you rely on for care and support
  • you get certain benefits in the UK

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

If you get a pension or benefit from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein

Your eligibility for Attendance Allowance could be affected. The rules in this area are complicated and it’s best to get advice before you apply. Contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help.

If you’re from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein

You’ll need to apply to stay in the UK after 30 June 2021.

You can do this by applying to the EU Settlement Scheme. If you’re successful you’ll get 'settled status' or 'pre-settled status'.

You should apply for settled or pre-settled status by 31 December 2020 because your rights will change after this date - unless the law changes.

Check how to apply for settled status.

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