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What is 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.

Lots of people are entitled to Attendance Allowance but don't know enough about it to claim.

You could get £55.65 or £83.10 a week - the amount you get will depend on how much help you need. You can spend the money however you like - it could help you stay independent in your own home for longer.

Attendance Allowance isn't means tested so it doesn't matter what other money you get. It doesn't matter how much you have in savings either - there's no limit.

It won't affect your state pension and you can claim it if you're still working and earning money.

You'll need to complete a long claim form when you apply for Attendance Allowance. It might seem daunting at first but help is available from your nearest Citizens Advice so don't let the form put you off applying.

If you'd prefer to do it yourself you can follow our advice on how to fill in your claim form.

Attendance Allowance and your other benefits

Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit. You'll be exempt from the Benefit Cap so you won't have money taken away from any other benefits.

Claiming Attendance Allowance might also mean you're entitled to extra help - for example, you might qualify for a council tax reduction (this depends on your personal circumstances).

Read more in extra money and help you can get while on Attendance Allowance.

If you already get other disability benefits

You won't be able to claim Attendance Allowance if you already get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independent Payment (PIP).

You can renew your DLA or PIP 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're about to turn 65

If you're 64 and thinking about applying for Attendance Allowance when you're 65, you might be better off claiming PIP before your 65th birthday - you might be able to get more money.

If you claim PIP and get it, the amount you get will depend on your circumstances and how your disability or illness affects you.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help.

How you can spend your Attendance Allowance

You can spend your Attendance Allowance however you like - it's up to you. Lots of people spend it on something that makes life a bit easier, for example:

  • paying for taxis

  • helping towards bills

  • paying for a cleaner or gardener

Examples of how people spend their money

Betty is 79 and has arthritis in her knee and hip and also has a heart condition. She says: “I use some of my Attendance Allowance to visit my friend, Nancy, who lives a few miles away. I used to get 2 buses and it took an hour and exhausted me but my Attendance Allowance means I can get a taxi there in 10 minutes. I also get a taxi to go to appointments, like the doctor or a consultant, or even the hairdresser. I still have enough money to pay for a cleaner once a week. It’s made a huge difference to my life.”

David is 82 and has dementia. He says: “I struggle to make ends meet on my pension so I use my Attendance Allowance to help with bills. It means I don’t have to worry about having the heating on if I’m cold. The money also means I can see more of my grandchildren. They mean the world to me and it would be difficult to see them without the extra money as I can’t get public transport on my own.”

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