Millions missing out on benefit worth up to £4.4k – are you eligible?
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Millions of pensioners are missing out on financial support every month and the Department of Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Attendance Allowance, worth up to £4,400 a year, could be the benefit to make a difference. Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people over State Pension age who need help with personal care or supervision due to illness or a disability.
Up to £15billion of Government benefits and allowances go unclaimed every year and the group most likely to be missing out on these additional support funds is pensioners, according to Age UK.
Attendance Allowance, however, has wide eligibility and many more people qualify for it without realising it. It’s thought the figure of eligible non-claimers sits around the 3.4 million mark.
Who is eligible for Attendance Allowance?
Like all benefits, Attendance Allowance claimants must adhere to strict criteria and all of the following must apply in order to be entitled to the support.
Claimants must be over the State Pension age and have a type of disability or illness, including sight or hearing impairments, or mental health issues such as dementia.
It must also be clear that claimants could benefit from help with personal care, such as getting washed or dressed, or supervision to keep them safe during the day or night.
Claimants must also have needed help for at least six months and if claimants are terminally ill, the benefit can be claimed straight away.
How much is Attendance Allowance?
The amount received is calculated based on how much help is required, not any current help the person does or doesn’t get.
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However, if eligible, the funds don’t need to be spent on care – they can be put towards other things like bills.
There are two rates of Attendance Allowance available, the lower rate and the higher rate.
The lower rate applies to people who need help during the day or at night, which amounts to £61.85 per week.
The higher rate applies to those who need help during both the day and at night, or have a terminal illness, amounting to £92.40 per week.
This isn’t a means-tested benefit, which means current savings or income won’t affect the claim, nor will it impact other benefits received – in fact, it could actually help with eligibility for other benefits, such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, or Council Tax Reduction.
Attendance Allowance claimants are also eligible for the Government’s “Christmas Bonus”, awarded to people claiming certain benefits during the qualifying week, which is usually the first full week of December.
The Christmas Bonus is a one-off, tax-free, automatic £10 payment made before Christmas.
How to claim Attendance Allowance
To get the benefit, claimants need to fill out a form, clearly outlining the help they do need, as well as the help they don’t.
To pick up an Attendance Allowance form, claimants can either call the helpline on 0800 731 0122 or download the form from the Government website, here.
Experts advise to be very clear about the impact of the illness or disability and to attach supporting information, such as GP letters or prescription lists, to the application.
Once submitted, the DWP may contact the person for more information or to arrange a visit to the doctor. From here, claimants will receive a letter confirming whether or not the benefit will be allocated.
For more detailed tips on filling out the Attendance Allowance form, visit the Citizens Advice page here.
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