Age UK tells us that many people are eligible to claim Attendance Allowance but don’t.
Which means countless numbers of people struggle financially when they don’t have to.
Attendance Allowance was introduced in 1970 to help people stay independent and avoid going into a care home. Unfortunately, people often don’t know about it or don’t like the idea of handouts or sharing their financial information. However, as Attendance Allowance isn’t means tested, you don’t have to give details of your income or savings.
Attendance Allowance made a big difference to Edna and her daughter, Lynn.
Edna had arthritis and was waiting for a hip replacement operation. She already had a gardener to keep the garden of her bungalow tidy and, as she was struggling to do some of the housework, Lynn suggested she get a cleaner too.
“Mum didn’t like that idea at all. She said she didn’t need any help and would manage. I realise now it was the money stopping her, not just her pride.”
“A few weeks later, Mum told me she was missing her friends at her weekly coffee morning. The uphill walk from the bus stop to the village hall was too much for her hips. When I suggested she get a taxi, she said: ‘I can’t afford to splash out on taxis just to go out for a coffee.’ “
“Well, that worried me. I assumed she was OK for money. She was always generous with her grandchildren and never complained about bills.”
Lynn shared her worries with a friend who told her about Attendance Allowance. Attendance Allowance is available to older people who need help to care for themselves. It can be used to pay for a whole range of things that make it possible to stay in your own home.
“I’d never heard of it, but my friend had claimed it for her uncle who had home care. Attendance Allowance covered most of the cost for him, so I thought it was worth claiming for Mum.”
It’s often the most independent-minded people who don’t claim, but Attendance Allowance can be the perfect answer for those wanting to stay in the home they love.
As Lynn explained,
“I broached the idea of claiming Attendance Allowance tentatively as Mum doesn’t like ‘handouts’ or people knowing her private business. So, you can imagine how happy she was to find out she didn’t have to give all her financial details. Mum didn’t consider herself disabled until she realised she needed help to stay independent.”
“It took a little bit of persuasion, so I arranged for someone from Radfield Home Care to call and talk to her about it. They explained everything carefully, and Mum decided to make a claim.”
As you get older, it can be frustrating when you can’t do everything you used to. Whether it’s because you have arthritis or a heart condition that disables you or dementia, which means you forget to eat, drink or take your medication.
There are two Attendance Allowance rates:
The extra income can cover the cost of getting a cleaner or paying for a taxi to help you get to appointments or social activities.
You can use it to have meals delivered or a personal alarm installed so you can call for help in an emergency.
And, of course, it can also be used to pay for home care if you need it.
You don’t need to be receiving care to claim the allowance and it doesn’t affect any other benefits.
And the best part of all, it’s tax-free.
As with any official form, it pays to do your homework. Make sure you have all the information you need to hand and prepare to give details of how your illness or disability affects your day-to-day living.
It can be helpful to keep a note of all the times you’ve needed help or found it difficult to manage over a few days, so you can give good examples of how often you need a helping hand.
Radfield Home Care helped Lynn and Edna to complete their form.
“It was quite a long form, so we were glad of the help to get it right. I don’t think we’d have filled in all the details if it wasn’t for the expert advice we received,” said Lynn.
“It was worth the effort, especially as Mum needed some home care after her hip replacement. The extra money gave her back the social life she nearly lost and paid for the help she needed to stay at home. She was so much happier and knowing she had that extra help, I was able to relax too. Basically it gave her a new lease of life.”
Age UK’s Charity Director, Caroline Abrahams sums it up:
“Attendance Allowance has been specifically designed to help older people who need extra support because of a health issue and it can go a long way to help them live independently at home.”
If Edna’s story has inspired you to claim for Attendance Allowance, follow our guide below to ensure you receive the financial help you could be entitled to.
How to claim Attendance Allowance.
Get in touch with your local Radfield Home Care office today and find out more about the support we offer and the difference we can make.