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attendance allowance

(13 Posts)
SmileAndNod Tue 25-Feb-14 17:23:29

I'm not after I'm posting this in the right place but here goes. For various reasons, elderly GPs are becoming a terrible worry for us all. We help out where we can (all still relatively close by) but there are some things that they are now unable to do without help eg get some shopping, for medical appointments etc.

I have read about a thing called attendance allowance on age UK, which, if I've understood correctly is an allowance payable to allow them to pay for taxis to hospital, someone to mow the lawn every so often when a family member can't etc.

I wondered if anyone knew anything more about it? I mentioned it in passing and they were horrified at the prospect of claiming a benefit and were worried about being moved out of their (council) house due to the bedroom tax. I think we may be talking at cross purposes - in their 90s and a bit hard of hearing!

Does anyone know the process for this allowance? Do you already have to be in receipt of benefits to apply?

They are becoming increasingly worrying to us all, but won't hear of any type of help / assistance.

Thank you for any thoughts.

mrsravelstein Tue 25-Feb-14 17:27:24

i am in the process of filling out the form for my parents. no you don't have to be in receipt of benefits for it. it's paid at 2 rates depending on how much assistance is needed for every day life. my understanding from my MIL who claimed it when my FIL was terminally ill is that basically on the form you need to demonstrate that the intended recipient is unable to safely do basic every day tasks for themselves. link here if you've not already read through all the official gumf on it...

https://www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance/overview

Kikithecat Tue 25-Feb-14 17:27:31

No it is not dependant on other benefits. Just apply making sure you repeat over and over what they need help with. The form is quite long but its just a case of repeating yourself like a broken record in most of the answers.

LEMmingaround Tue 25-Feb-14 17:30:03

oh, thats interesting - i always thought attendance allowance was an old benefit - my mum's benefits need to be reviewed and she has similar needs so sorry, no advice but a bit of shameless place marking for any advice you get too. I do know that the DWP (i think its them) will send someone round to help with form filling, which is what we are going to do for my mum. My mum receives disability living allowance but needs reviewing as her needs are increasing, she does get basic mobility allowance which your GPs should look into this. They categorically will not have to pay bedroom tax or loose a bedroom - my mum live in a three bed council house and so does my MIL and they do not have to pay as they are over a certain age - my mum is 76. Also, its not a benefit per se, its something they have paid into all their lives in terms of national insurance, they are just claiming back some of what they have put in. I was told, when my dad was poorly that the govt would far rather give benefits that help people stay in their own home than have to put them into care homes because they can't access it so this really needs to be utilized.

LEMmingaround Tue 25-Feb-14 17:34:38

mrsravalstein, thanks for that link - it looks like my mum would definately be entitled to the lower rate.

serengetty Tue 25-Feb-14 17:37:06

You can ask a social worker or benefits worker to help. What's kept quiet is that if granted, their pension credit should go up and they should also be exempt from paying council tax....more forms but obviously a big saving for them.

AphraBane Tue 25-Feb-14 17:48:42

My mum had attendance allowance for the last year of her life, and to be honest it really meant she could continue living in her own flat right to the end (and was thus in the long run vastly cheaper for the government). It paid for an Age Concern (now called Age UK?) cleaner, taxis to doctors appointments or supermarkets, for an electronic recliner chair that meant she wouldn't get stuck in the armchair again, for the emergency buzzer system. Towards the end she needed carers coming in three times a day, and it paid for part of that too.

Age Concern were brill - they arranged for a guy to come round and help her fill out the form. He was good because older people are very reluctant to own up to how much help they need. I was there at the first meeting:

'So can you get out of bed easily yourself?'

'Well yes, I suppose so'

'What does that mean, be honest. Can you always get out of bed by yourself?'

'Well not always, but that's what you expect at my age'

'So how long does it take you to get out of bed?'

'Well sometimes it can be a few hours...' shock

They arranged (via social services) for bed rails to get installed so she could actually get up herself, and she had the buzzer by the bed in case she got stuck again!

The good thing about getting a cleaner via Age Concern is that they really watch out for older people. They phoned me once because the cleaner had found the front door open - my mum's arthritis had stopped her from twisting the lock closed properly.

"What's kept quiet is that if granted, their pension credit should go up and they should also be exempt from paying council tax" Damn, not even Age Concern told us that - too late now.

AphraBane Tue 25-Feb-14 17:51:16

"Do you already have to be in receipt of benefits to apply?"

Definitely not - my mum's only income was her state pension and a private pension. We had the same battle with 'I don't want to go on benefits' but we managed to convince her that this was a national-insurance linked right that she had worked for.

whataboutbob Tue 25-Feb-14 21:52:06

I have a question- if you are already getting carers' allowance, can you also apply for attendance allowance on behalf of the person you are caring for? Or is it one or the other benefit?

Needmoresleep Wed 26-Feb-14 16:21:48

I agree about getting third party help. I had a first go but found it difficult to write very negative things about my mums capacity.

Its not means tested nor taxable. And you don't have to say what you spend it on.

Council tax credit is via the local authority. Be careful. Dementia is referred to as severe mental impairment. I was very worried they might send their response to my mum in error.

SmileAndNod Fri 28-Feb-14 12:50:54

Thank you, it has taken me a couple of days to read and understand everything and speak to DM about it all. We are going to visit age UK next week and see what they recommend. They are not in receipt of housing benefit, pension credit or anything like that. They probably would be entitled in all honesty but won't entertain the idea of sharing financial/personal business with anyone.

We are worried about their capacity to live alone, GM is having some memory issues which she won't seek help for, both have quite severe mobility problems. They refuse to have a life line buzzer installed, and often fall. In short, they are bloody stubborn, but we want to help them to live independently as long as possible.

I think engaging age UK would be a good start.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 28-Feb-14 12:57:23

Age uk will help do a falls assessment.

3littlefrogs Fri 28-Feb-14 13:04:15

It is non-means tested.
They are entitled to it.
It can be backdated for up to six weeks from the time it is received in the department.
It takes a whole weekend to fill in (have done it twice). It is complicated and annoying and badly designed and you need all their medical details, names of consultants, all medication etc. One set of forms for each parent. It is about 36 pages each.
You MUST fill it in as if you are describing a bad day, not a good day, because the assumption will be that what you put on the form is the worst case scenario. If you put that your parent can sometimes walk ten yards on a very good day, they will take that to mean they can always walk ten yards every day, for example.
When they are rejected (as they may well be), you appeal and re-apply. Usually you will succeed the second time.
Don't even bother trying to do it on line, it is a nightmare.
Print off the forms, make a pile of sandwiches and a flask of tea and set to.
Photocopy everything in case it all gets lost. (This is useful if you have to re-apply if the first application is rejected - see note above).
If you assist your parents with anything (as you are now doing by filling in all these forms for them) or help with washing/personal care, shopping, medication etc, that makes you a carer, and you are entitled to a carer's assessment. You should insist on this because it will make things easier further down the line.
Good luck.

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