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Help filling in Attendance Allowance forms

McCarthy Stone’s Entitlements Manager gives expert tips on how to claim Attendance Allowance —which is not means tested or taxed. Get the guide.

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Property advice
Posted 14 March 2024
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We offer free help filling in Attendance Allowance forms

Our ‘Five star’ Entitlements Manager and benefits expert, Aleks Clayton, offers free advice and practical support to our customers, helping them to claim thousands of pounds they often had no idea they were entitled to. She shares her expertise and advice in this guide.

Who is Attendance Allowance for?

It’s for people who claim the state pension and need support at home with personal care tasks due to a disability or illness. It doesn’t cover things like shopping, gardening or housework, but if you’re finding these things difficult you probably struggle with personal care tasks too. There are two rates available depending on your needs. Crucially, Attendance Allowance, is not means tested. Despite this many people who should qualify don’t claim it.

The rates and the government’s criteria

  • £68.10 (£72.65 from April 24) Frequent help or constant supervision during the day, or supervision at night
  • £101.75 (108.55 from April 24) Help or supervision throughout both day and night, or a medical professional has said you might have 12 months or less to live.Do you pay tax on Attendance Allowance?

Attendance Allowance is tax free and claiming it may entitle you to further tax (and other) benefits, such as reduced Council Tax payments.

Is Attendance Allowance backdated?

No Attendance Allowance is not backdated, so it make sense to fill the form in as soon as possible. If you’re successful, you will receive payments starting from the date when the Department for Work and Pensions received your form. 

How do you apply for Attendance Allowance?

To apply you need to fill in a 30-page Attendance Allowance form which many people find daunting. Aleks’s expert help often gets results even when people have been refused the allowance before. This is because she can help you to fill in the form in a way that clearly explains the issues you have. Here are her 7 top tips for success.

Aleks’s tips on a successful Attendance Allowance application

Tip 1. Read the form very carefully  

Make sure you read all the questions carefully, including all the notes that come with the Attendance Allowance form, before you make a start. You will need to answer all the questions fully.

Tip 2. Note your issues in a daily diary

It can be a challenge to remember every personal care activity you find hard, painful, you need help with — or that just takes you a long time to do — in your daily life. Noting every incident in your diary for a week or so can really help you to answer the ‘care needs’ questions. For example, if your find it hard to climb stairs, note how many times a day you have to climb them.

Tip 3. Ask your family or friends for support 

Your friends and family can help you to fill in the form and review it before you send it, but they may also be able to suggest things they’ve noticed you struggling with, or that they’re helping you with, that you might not have thought of. 

Tip 4. Be honest about your health and challenges

You need to clearly set out your daily difficulties including as much detail as possible, even if an issue seems quite small. As well as listing diagnosed physical and/or mental health issues, include things like finding it tricky to get  out of bed or difficulty using the bathroom.

For instance common health concerns in older adults, like arthritis or hearing/sight loss can restrict your movement, prevent you doing something or slow you down. Problems with memory can mean you forget to take medication, or to look after yourself. The effects of ‘Long Covid’ can make personal care tasks harder too. All this is relevant information you should include.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a year or less to live, you should get Attendance Allowance more quickly. You (or a friend/family member)  need to ask a doctor/medical professional for a SR1 form. 

Tip 5. Fill in all the blanks   

It’s extremely important that you fully explain the difficulties you’re experiencing in detail. Aim to fill in all the blank spaces —and make sure you answer every question. If you run out of space, there are blank pages towards the end of the form.

Tip 6. Repeat information if necessary 

It’s important to raise the same points again in several answers if it is relevant to do so. It all helps build a picture of the issues you face.

Tip 7. Include details of specialist equipment you use

Question 25 is specifically about this, but if you use things like stair lifts, grab rails and raised toilet seats to support your daily life then mention your use of this equipment in other questions too if relevant.

Aleks’s example answers will help with filling in Attendance Allowance forms

While stressing that every answer has to personal to you and your circumstances, Aleks has suggested some answers to key questions in the form to give you an idea of the kind of thing to write.

Question: Do you usually have difficulty or do you need help with dressing and undressing?

Example answers: 

  • I have to sit down to dress and undress due to unsteadiness. I have difficulty putting on and taking off lower clothes and footwear as I cannot bend due to pain in my back and hips.
  • I have difficulty raising my arms due to arthritic pain and stiffness and struggle putting on and taking off upper clothes. It takes me a long time to dress and undress.
  • Due to memory problems I forget to change my clothes and need someone to remind me to change my clothes regularly. 

Question: Do you usually have difficulty or do you need help moving around indoors? 

Example answers: 

  • I hold onto the furniture/walls indoors due to my poor balance. 
  • My legs are very painful and also weak. 
  • I feel dizzy when standing and walking. 
  • Using stairs is difficult due to pain in my joints. My sight loss means I cannot judge step depth which makes me prone to falling. 
  • My legs are weak, so I struggle to get the momentum to stand from a chair. 

Question: Do you usually have difficulty or do you need help with cutting up food, eating or drinking?

Example answers: 

  • Due to sight loss, I cannot see what food is on my plate. 
  • Due to arthritis in my hands and fingers I struggle to grip cutlery to cut food.
  • I struggle to grip a cup or glass. 
  • Due to memory problems I forget to eat and need someone to make my meals for me and ensure I eat them. 

Question: Do you usually need help from another person to communicate with other people? 

Example answers:  

  • Due to hearing loss I struggle to hear conversations and have great difficulty using the phone.
  • Due to sight loss, I cannot see to read documents and need help with paperwork and post. 
  • Due to memory problems, I need help to deal with paperwork and finances as I struggle to manage. 

Question: Do you usually need help from another person to actively take part in hobbies, interests, social or religious activities? 

Example answers: 

  • I need help to switch on the TV and change channels as I cannot see the remote control buttons.
  • I need a talking book player as I cannot see to read books.
  • Visiting family/going out for a meal – I need someone to take me and bring me home as I cannot get out without help.

Did you know that Attendance Allowance can help you to pay for Service Charges in our developments? 

Life in a McCarthy Stone home gives you a beautiful private property full of clever ‘hidden’ adaptations, like non-slip bathroom flooring and arthritis friendly taps, but you’ll also benefit from a personal emergency alarm and the support of a friendly community and house manager just outside your door. If you opt for a Retirement Living PLUS development you’ll have a manager on-site 24/7, bespoke domestic and personal care services available and additional amenities like an on-site bistro. It means there’s always help on hand — and a good meal, there if you need it.   

Find a supportive new retirement property near you 

Find the right retirement home near you right now, call our friendly team on 0800 201 4811 or contact us online for more information. 

You can find more information on Attendance Allowance on the government website. The system is different in Scotland (visit Mygov.scot for details) and Northern Ireland (see NI Direct for details).
 

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