What is Attendance Allowance?
Attendance Allowance is a welfare benefit you may get if you are State Pension age or over and need help with personal care or supervision because you have a physical or mental disability. It doesn't matter if you don't currently get this help, as long as you can show you need it.
If you are deaf or have hearing loss, you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance if you need to help to communicate with other people. This counts as personal care.
What is State Pension age?
State Pension age is the earliest age you can start receiving your State Pension. It is worked out based on your gender and date of birth.
You can check when you will reach State Pension age on the gov.uk website.
How much is Attendance Allowance?
Attendance Allowance is paid at one of two rates – lower or higher – depending on how much help you need.
The weekly rates from April 2018 are:
- lower rate: £57.30
- higher rate: £85.60.
The rate you may get will depend on which of the disability tests you pass (see below).
Do I qualify?
To qualify for Attendance Allowance, you must:
- be State Pension age or over
- have passed at least one of the disability tests (see below)
- have needed the help for at least six months (unless you are terminally ill, in which case you can qualify straight away)
- normally live in the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, and not be subject to immigration control (unless you are a sponsored immigrant)
- have been in Great Britain (or Northern Ireland if you are living there) for at least two out of the last three years – this rule does not apply if you are terminally ill.
What are the disability tests?
There are daytime and night-time disability tests that will help to determine whether you qualify for Attendance Allowance – and, if so, at what rate.
To qualify for the lower rate of Attendance Allowance, you must pass:
- one of the daytime tests or
- one of the night-time tests.
To get the higher rate, you must pass:
- one of the daytime tests and
- one of the night-time tests or
- be terminally ill.
You must need, from another person:
- frequent attention throughout the day in connection with your bodily functions (hearing and speech are both bodily functions), or
- continual supervision throughout the day to prevent substantial danger to yourself or other people.
You must need:
- attention at night with your bodily functions for a period of 20 minutes or longer, or for two or more times a night, or
- another person to be awake for approximately 20 minutes, or at least three times a night, so they can watch over you, to avoid substantial danger to yourself or other people.
For definitions of the terms used in the disability tests, see our factsheet Attendance Allowance.
How the tests are decided
The information you give in your claim form may be enough for the decision-maker to decide whether or not you pass at least one of the tests. If not, they may ask your GP, nurse or consultant to provide a report.
How do I claim Attendance Allowance?
You’ll need to complete a claim form, which you can either receive in the post or download online.
How to claim in England, Scotland or Wales
Contact the Attendance Allowance helpline to receive a claim form in the post:
Telephone: 0800 731 0122
Textphone: 0800 731 0317
NGT text relay: 18001 then 0800 731 0122
Or download the form from the gov.uk website.
How to claim in Northern Ireland
Contact the Benefit Enquiry Line for a claim form in the post:
Telephone: 0800 022 4250
Textphone: 028 9031 1092
Or download the form at nidirect.gov.uk
Filling in the form
Remember that the person making the decision on your claim will probably not know what it’s like to be deaf or have hearing loss, so you'll need to describe how it affects your daily life. For guidance on how to answer the questions that focus on your disability and care needs, see our factsheet Attendance Allowance.