How to claim Attendance Allowance
You can claim Attendance Allowance if you:
- have reached State Pension age
- need care or supervision because you have an illness or disability
- have needed care or supervision for at least 6 months because of your illness or disability
If you’re terminally ill, you can claim Attendance Allowance straight away - you don’t need to wait 6 months. Find out more about claiming Attendance Allowance if you’re terminally ill.
You don't need to have had a formal diagnosis to claim 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 also claim Attendance Allowance if you live on your own - it's based on the help you need, rather than the help you are already getting.
If you get Attendance Allowance, you can spend the money however you like - it could help you stay independent in your own home for longer.
You can also apply for Attendance Allowance on behalf of someone else, for example a parent or a friend or other relative.
Applying for someone else
You might need to apply for Attendance Allowance for someone else, for example if they're too ill to fill in the form or if they don't have the 'mental capacity'. This means they're unable to make decisions.
It's okay to fill in the form for someone if they can sign it themselves.
If they can't sign the form you'll need to have the legal right to do it for them. You can sign the form for them if you:
- are an appointee
- have power of attorney
- are a legal guardian
Get permission to apply for someone else
You'll need to get the legal right if you want to apply for Attendance Allowance on behalf of someone who can't sign the form themselves.
It can take a while to get this permission so it's best to do this as soon as possible so you don't delay the Attendance Allowance claim.
If you just want to sort out someone's benefits: become an appointee
An appointee has the legal right to sort out someone's benefits for them. This includes spending the money in a way that helps the claimant and being responsible for reporting any changes, for example if they go into hospital.
You can apply to become an appointee at GOV.UK.
If you want to make decisions about benefits and other things: get power of attorney
You'll be able to make decisions for someone or help them make their own decisions if you have a lasting power of attorney (LPA). The person who wants you to be their LPA must be able to make their own decisions when they apply.
There are 3 types of LPA:
- continuing - for decisions about property and finance
- welfare - for decisions about health and welfare
- combined - for decisions about property, finance, health and welfare
You'll need to have either the welfare or combined LPA if you want to make decisions about someone's benefits.
Read more about types of power of attorney in Scotland and how to apply on the Office of the Public Guardian website.
If you need to get the permission from a court
If someone can't make decisions for themselves and there's no power of attorney in place you can apply to a court to ask for powers to deal with their finances.
It's best to get help if you need to do this as it can be complicated - contact your nearest Citizens Advice.
Get an application form
You can either phone for an application form or download a form on GOV.UK.
It's best to phone because your payments will be backdated to the date you phoned, as long as you return the form in 6 weeks. The date you need to return it by will be stamped on the form. If you download an application form, you'll only be paid from the date that the DWP receive the form.
Attendance Allowance helpline
Telephone: 0800 731 0122
Textphone: 0800 731 0317
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Calls to these numbers are free.
It’s a quick call - you just need to give your name and address. It's the same number whether you're applying for Attendance Allowance for yourself or for someone else.
Keeping a diary
It's a good idea to keep a diary of your condition for at least a week before you fill in the form - particularly if you have bad days and good days. Fill in our diary template to help you [ 99 kb]. Write down your difficulties, the care or supervision you need and how long it took.
The diary will help you when you answer questions on the form. You can also send it with the form to support your claim.
Fill in the application form
The form can be confusing and difficult to understand - filling it in can also be emotionally difficult and time-consuming.
You don't have to go through it alone - read our advice on filling in the Attendance Allowance form.
Send your application form
It's a good idea to make a copy of your filled-in application form and any other documents you send if you can. This will be useful in case you need to refer to them later, for example if you need to reapply for Attendance Allowance after a few years.
Send the form to:
Attendance Allowance Unit
Mail Handling Site A
If you're waiting for something like a letter from your doctor, you should still send the form before the 6 week deadline. Include a letter saying you'll send more evidence and give them an approximate date for when you'll send it.
If you send the form late, you should explain why. You'll only get paid from when the DWP receives the form.
After you've sent your form
You'll normally get a 'decision letter' in around 6 weeks - this will tell you whether or not you'll get Attendance Allowance. It will also tell you how much you'll get and how long your Attendance Allowance will last for.
Call the Attendance Allowance helpline if you haven't received a decision letter after 8 weeks. You can call them on 0800 731 0122.
If you're terminally ill you'll get your decision letter within 2 weeks. You'll be awarded the higher rate of Attendance Allowance for 3 years. Find out more about claiming Attendance Allowance if you're terminally ill.