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Attendance Allowance in a Care Home: Can You Claim It?

When you or a loved one moves into a nursing home or other supported living facilities, certain allowances may change or be reduced. If you’re receiving Attendance Allowance, you may be wondering how this is impacted once you move into a care home. We explain all in this detailed guide.

What is Attendance Allowance in a care home?

Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people who have reached State Pension age and require an elevated level of care due to a physical or mental disability or a terminal illness. This elevated level of care could include:

Having said this, it isn’t a requirement that someone is caring for you to receive Attendance Allowance. The amount of money you receive depends on the level of care required.

Am I eligible to receive Attendance Allowance?

You can claim Attendance Allowance if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You’re over the State Pension age
  • You have a disability or physical or mental illness
  • You could benefit from help with personal care
  • You have needed this help for at least 6 months

Attendance Allowance aims to fund your care so you can live more comfortably.

Attendance Allowance rates

There are two different rates of Attendance Allowance depending on the level of care you require. For example, those that only require some assistance for a couple of hours a day would be eligible for the lower rate. Those with a terminal illness that requires 24/7 care will qualify for the higher rate. 

Attendance Allowance is usually paid every four weeks, the rates for 2023/24 are:

  • Lower rate: £68.10 per week - for those who need help during the day or night
  • Higher rate: £101.75 per week - for those who need help during the day and night or are terminally ill

Can I claim Attendance Allowance in a care home?

If you move into a care home and your care is paid for by your local authority, then you’ll continue to receive Attendance Allowance for the first 28 days before it’ll stop being paid. However, if you pay for your own care home fees, then you’ll continue to receive Attendance Allowance throughout your time in the care home. 

In nursing homes, people who only receive the Registered Nursing Care Contribution from the NHS to help cover costs can still continue to receive Attendance Allowance.

Attendance Allowance for the terminally ill

People that live in a hospice and have been diagnosed with a terminal illness are also entitled to receive Attendance Allowance. It’s important to note that if you’re living with a terminal illness, you can access a special application process which moves at a quicker pace, or you can speak to an advisor, such as Citizens Advice.

If someone’s too ill or isn’t aware that their illness is terminal, you can apply on behalf of someone else. You can fill out the form and sign it for them, with the money going directly to them to pay for their care.

How to make a claim for Attendance Allowance

Applying for Attendance Allowance is as simple as filling out a form. It’s important to provide as much information as possible as this is one of the common reasons why some may be turned away. In some cases, you may have to provide some supporting information which can include the following:

  • DS1500 medical condition report, for those with a terminal illness
  • A letter from your GP
  • Your care plan
  • GP appointment letters
  • Prescription lists
  • Reports from your occupational therapist

In some cases, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may contact you, your doctor or another reference on your form to request more information.

Appealing the decision

Once you’ve submitted your Attendance Allowance form, you’ll receive a written decision that tells you the rates you’ll receive and the date the allowance will begin. 

If your claim is refused, or you receive a lower rate than expected, you can go to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This will be a mandatory reconsideration. If this is also a no, you can appeal the decision with the Tribunal Service for England, Wales and Scotland, or the Appeals Service (TAS) in Northern Ireland.

Attendance Allowance is vital for many people that require additional support as it can make paying for care much more realistic. It’s reassuring to know that you’ll still receive Attendance Allowance in a care home if you pay for your own care.