Scotland: Sturgeon discusses state pension if independent
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Attendance Allowance is a benefit payment designed to help claimants with the additional costs that arise from having a severe disability. Claimants must have a condition severe enough that they need to have someone help to care for them. The disability payment is reserved for those who have reached the state pension age of 66 and meet certain criteria.
As well as being a state pensioner, applicants for Attendance Allowance must have a physical or mental handicap, or both.
On top of this, their condition must be determined to be severe enough for them to require a carer to help look after them for their safety and that of their family.
Finally, the claimant must have been suffering with their disability for at least six months to qualify.
If they are terminally ill, “special rules” can be applied by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which include scrapping the qualifying period for having the illness and automatically getting the highest amount of Attendance Allowance.
In terms of payment, Attendance Allowance is split into two separate rates: one lower and the other higher.
The lower rate of the disability payment comes £60 a week and is reserved for those who need “frequent help or constant supervision” throughout the day due to their condition.
Attendance Allowance’s higher rate is a weekly payment of £89.60 and given to claimants who need help or assistance throughout both day and night, or those who are terminally ill.
An assessor will determine who gets what payment rate depending on the severity of their disability.
Unlike some other DWP benefits, Attendance Allowance is not means-tested which means what someone earns or how much they have in savings will not affect what they get.
Those who claim this benefit may also be eligible for extra Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction, especially if they are over the state pension age.
All payments of Attendance Allowance are paid directly into the bank, building society or credit union account of the claimant’s choice.
If a claimant’s circumstances change, they must report how their condition has been affected to the DWP. This could affect how much Attendance Allowance they can claim.
Chloe Smith, the UK Government’s Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, explained how people can benefit from claiming certain payments, such as Attendance Allowance.
“Living with a long-term illness or disability can have a profound effect on daily life, both for those with a diagnosis and those who care for them, so it’s vitally important you are receiving all the help you are entitled to.
“Millions of people already receive this support and I would urge anyone who thinks they may be eligible for extra financial help to check online.”
Those looking to apply for Attendance Allowance can so by sending the benefit payment’s claim form by post to the DWP.
This form includes notes explaining how each state pensioner should complete the form and how to fill it in.
The completed claim form needs to be sent to Freepost DWP Attendance Allowance; no postcode or stamp is needed.
Attendance Allowance can be backdated to the date of the initial claim, which is usually the date the form is received by or the date the claimant calls the enquiry line.
Anyone with further questions about their Attendance Allowance application is encouraged to call the benefit helpline at 0800 731 0122.
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