Take care of your benefits

Take care of your benefits

Can you tell me the difference between an Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance?” asks Margaret.

Attendance Allowance is a benefit for those over 65 who are physically or mentally disabled and need someone to help them with what are called their “bodily functions”. That means eating, drinking, using the toilet, and living safely.

There are two rates: £57.30 or £85.60 a week, depending on whether you need attention either in the day OR
night, or both day AND night.

You can claim once you have fulfilled the conditions for six months, but people who are terminally ill are entitled to the higher rate without waiting. The rules about qualifying are complex. If you think you might qualify, then apply. 

Younger people with a disability can claim a similar benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The conditions are different and depend on a list of tasks the person is able to do. It has the same weekly rates – £57.30 and £85.60, depending on what the claimant can do unaided. There is also an extra payment for those who have mobility problems. You can be eligible for just one or both parts of the payment. PIP replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA), which has less onerous conditions. 

No new claims for DLA can be made by people over 16; those who currently receive DLA will be reassessed for PIP over the next year or so. Many now receiving DLA will fail the PIP test – if that happens get advice and consider appealing. Many succeed. 

Carer’s Allowance is paid to those who care for a disabled person for at least 35 hours a week. You must earn less than £120 a week and normally be under state pension age  – Carer’s Allowance “overlaps” with the pension, so you get whichever is higher, and that is nearly always the pension.

Carer’s Allowance is £64.60 a week, and is taxable. These four benefits are not means tested, and do not depend on National Insurance contributions. There are many other benefits disabled people are entitled to. Some are means tested, but others are not.

If you have any illness or disability that prevents you from doing things seek advice from Disabilityrightsuk.org or turn2us.org.uk.

For more information, visit gov.uk and search for the benefit name.

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