BLOG #4 – Attendance Allowance
Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people over State Pension age who need help with personal care or supervision because of illness.
One of the most important things I want to discuss with anyone looking after someone with a dementia diagnosis is Attendance Allowance. This is money that the government pays to someone with dementia as it “helps with extra costs if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you”.
There are two levels of Attendance Allowance to help with personal support if you are physically or mentally disabled and are State Pension age or older (it does not cover mobility issues):
Lower: £68.10 per week
Higher: £101.75 per week
You may also be eligible for Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction once you are being paid Attendance Allowance so I often describe Attendance Allowance as “the golden key” as it opens the doors to other benefits.
The application form is lengthy – 34 pages – and understandably, many people are put off when they first read it. This is where I can help you; I can meet with you so that we can complete the form together in the comfort of your own home, so that you have all the information ready to hand. You will need the dementia diagnosis letter from Memory Clinic and a list of medications from your GP, amongst other things.
I often find it is easier if I ask the family carer questions about the extent of the support they provide for the person with dementia, they describe everything that they do, and that helps them understand what is required on the form. Otherwise, it is a lot to do all on your own.
You may (or may not) have been told about Attendance Allowance on the day your person was diagnosed with dementia as West Berkshire and North Hampshire NHS deal with this differently. Often that day is so overwhelming, because there is a lot of information to take in and lots of things to consider now that you have become their family carer. You may well have decided you will apply later…….
Please note, you cannot backdate your claim for Attendance Allowance beyond the date you requested the form from HM Government. So if you have not applied straightaway, when daily living tasks are becoming a challenge for your person with dementia, you will not be able to claw back those missed months of payments. So please don’t hesitate, do get in touch so that we can arrange a home visit to get this most important form completed together.
If you or a loved one are currently being supported by Bluebird Care North Hampshire or West Berkshire you can access our Dementia Care Adviser completely free. If you aren't currently being supported by us you can still access the service at a charge. Please email Tamsin or call us 01256 762324 for further information.
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