Attendance Allowance

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Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit for people aged over pension age with attention or supervision needs resulting from a mental or physical disability.

Attendance allowance is not based on National Insurance Contributions (NICs), is not affected by savings or income and can be paid on top of other benefits if you are over pension age, if you are under pension age you may be able to claim Personal Independence Payment.

Attendance Allowance Rates

Attendance Allowance is paid at two weekly rates (2024 -2025):

  • Higher rate: £108.55 - To qualify you must meet both the day and the night conditions
  • Lower rate: £72.65  - To qualify you must meet either the day or the night conditions

The allowance does not have to be spent on paying for care. It is up to you how you use it.

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Qualifying Criteria

To qualify for Attendance Allowance you must:

  • Be aged over pension age
  • have been in Northern Ireland, Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey for at least 2 out of the last 3 years (this does not apply for people paid under the special rules)
  • Not be subject to immigration control
  • Not resident in certain types of accommodation (for example, hospital)
  • Satisfy the "disability conditions" below

Disability Conditions

To qualify for Attendance Allowance you must:

  • Be so severely disabled physically or mentally that you require help from another person
  • Meet either the day or night conditions (it is not enough to partly fulfill both)

 Day Conditions

To qualify for attendance allowance by day you must need:

  • Frequent (several times a day) attention throughout the day in connection with your bodily functions (such as eating, getting out of bed, going to the toilet, washing, taking medication, hearing or seeing). This attention can take different forms: hands-on help or prompting you to carry out a task
  • Continual (regular or on-going but with breaks) supervision throughout the day to avoid substantial danger to yourself or others

Night Conditions

To qualify for attendance allowance by night you must need:

  • Prolonged (20 minutes or more) or repeated (twice or more) attention in connection with your bodily functions
  • Another person to be awake for a prolonged period or frequent (twice or more) intervals to watch over you so that you do not put yourself or others in substantial danger
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Special Circumstances for Receiving Attendance Allowance

Terminally Ill

You are regarded as ‘terminally ill’ if you have a progressive disease and could be reasonably expected to die within 6 months.

You will automatically qualify for higher rate Attendance Allowance and can be paid this straight away without having to serve the 6 month qualifying period.

If you currently receive lower rate Attendance Allowance, you do not need to put in a new claim but can ask for the award to be superseded on the grounds that you are now terminally ill.

Attendance Allowance will be awarded for a fixed term of three years, however if your condition improves the award can be superseded.

Who can claim  if I am terminally ill?

The claim (or revision/supersession) for Attendance Allowance can be made by a relative or friend on your behalf. Indeed, it can be made without your knowledge or authority.

People claiming under special rules due to terminal illness do not need to complete all sections of the Attendance Allowance form. However they need to provide the Form DS1500, completed by their GP or consultant, detailing the medical condition.

Renal Dialysis

Special rules apply if you are undergoing renal dialysis on a kidney machine. You can claim lower rate Attendance Allowance if:

• You are having treatment regularly for two or more sessions a week

• The dialysis is of a type that requires the attendance or supervision of another person or you require attention or supervision while you are dialysing

These rules also apply if you receive dialysis in hospital as an outpatient with no help from hospital staff.

If you do not qualify under this route, apply for Attendance Allowance under the ordinary conditions.

Further Information

NI Direct information on Attendance Allowance


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