Attendance Allowance is a benefit distributed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for people over state pension age who need help with personal care or supervision due to illness or a disability. However, there are strict criteria to adhere to in order to claim and some changes must be reported to avoid being landed with a penalty.
Attendance Allowance can provide eligible Britons with up to £400.40 a month at its highest rate, equating to £4,804.80 per year. The benefit is paid in two rates, lower and higher, and how much a person receives depends on the amount of help a person needs during the day and night.
But, while it can provide eligible Britons with a significant monthly boost, it’s essential for people to be on top of their applications to avoid facing a severe penalty.
A statement on the DWP website reads: “[Attendance Allowance claimants] could be taken to court or have to pay a penalty if you give wrong information or do not report a change in your circumstances.”
The DWP lists eight important changes in circumstance a person must report, which could largely impact their entitlement to the benefit.
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What changes in circumstance have to be reported?
Those claiming or applying for Attendance Allowance must report the following changes to the DWP:
- The level of help they need or their condition changes – details must be provided, such as if the amount of times they need help each day has changed
- They go into hospital or a care home – they’ll need to provide the address, the dates they’ve been there, and how their stay is paid for
- They leave the country for more than four weeks
- They go to prison
- They change their name, address or bank details
- They want to stop receiving the benefit
- Their doctor’s details change
- Their immigration status changes, if they’re not a British citizen.
If a person doesn’t report a change or a mistake, they might be paid too much and in this case, they might have to pay some of the money back. They might also have to pay a £50 penalty.
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How to report changes to the DWP
If a claimant experiences a change in circumstance, they can report it using the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0800 731 0122, textphone at 0800 731 0317, or via Relay UK (if they cannot hear or speak on the phone), on 18001 then 0800 731 0122.
Attendance Allowance rates 2022/23
As mentioned, Attendance Allowance is offered at two rates, the lower rate and the higher rate. The lower rate applies to people who need support during the day or at night and amounts to £61.85 per week.
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Attendance Allowance isn’t a means-tested benefit, meaning current savings or income won’t affect the claim, nor will it impact other benefits received. Eligibility for Attendance Allowance could actually help with claims for other benefits, such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, or Council Tax reduction.
To claim, people need to fill out a form, clearly outlining the help they do need, as well as the help they don’t.
Attendance Allowance forms can be requested by either calling the helpline on 0800 731 0122 or downloading the form from the Government website.