Check if you're entitled to Attendance Allowance

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

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 £72.65 or £108.55 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:

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 must have lived in Great Britain for 2 out of the last 3 years - this is known as the ‘past presence’ test. 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.

If you haven’t been in the UK for long enough, check if there’s another way to pass the past presence test or if you can get Attendance Allowance without passing the test.

If you have a terminal illness

You don’t have to pass the past presence test if you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness and your doctors say you could die within 12 months.

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

Check if you’re habitually resident.

If you get a pension or benefit from the EU, EEA or Switzerland

Your eligibility for Attendance Allowance could be affected. The rules in this area are complicated. Talk to an adviser before you apply.

If you’re not a UK citizen

You can only get Attendance Allowance if your immigration status lets you claim public funds.

You can claim public funds if you have any of the following:

  • British or Irish citizenship

  • pre-settled or settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme

  • indefinite leave - unless you came to the UK on an adult dependent relative visa

  • refugee status or humanitarian protection

  • right of abode

If you have any other immigration status, check if your immigration status lets you claim public funds.

Next steps

How much Attendance Allowance you can get

How to claim Attendance Allowance