Millions missing out on DWP’s most underclaimed benefit: What is it and who is eligible?
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Up to £15billion of Government benefits and allowances go unclaimed every year and the group most likely to be missing out on these additional support funds is pensioners, according to Age UK. There’s one particular benefit, however, that has wide eligibility but a much lower claim rate, and it could make a huge difference to the budget.
Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people over state pension age who need help with personal care or supervision due to illness or a disability.
It’s thought that around 3.4 million eligible pensioners are missing out on this support, which could be worth up to £369 a month.
The amount allocated is calculated based on how much help is required, not any current help received.
However, if eligible, the funds don’t need to be spent on care – they can be put towards other things like bills.
To get the benefit, claimants need to fill out a form that clearly outlines the help they do need, as well as the help they don’t.
However, some pensioners say they’re put off applying because the process is too complicated – which could answer for the lower claim rate, along with not knowing it’s actually available.
So, how much are the Attendance Allowance rates and what’s the process of applying?
How is Attendance Allowance calculated?
There are two rates of Attendance Allowance available, and these are based on the care required.
Those who need help during the day or at night can claim the lower rate of £61.85 per week.
However, those who need help both during the day and at night, or have a terminal illness, can claim the higher rate of £92.40 per week.
The benefit is paid by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and isn’t means-tested.
This means current savings or income won’t affect the claim, nor will it impact other benefits received – in fact, it could actually help with eligibility for other means of support, such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, or Council Tax Reduction.
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Who is eligible to claim Attendance Allowance?
Attendance Allowance can only be claimed if all of the following criteria are met:
- Claimants must be over state pension age
- Claimants must have a type of disability or illness, including sight or hearing impairments, or mental health issues such as dementia
- Claimants could benefit from help with personal care, such as getting washed or dressed, or supervision to keep you safe during the day or night
- Claimants have needed help for at least six months (if claimants are terminally ill, the benefit can be claimed straight away)
How to claim Attendance Allowance
To pick up an Attendance Allowance form, claimants can either call the helpline on 0800 731 0122 or download the form from the Government website, here.
Experts then suggest people are very clear about the impact of the illness or disability and to attach supporting information such as GP letters or prescription lists.
Once submitted, the DWP may get in contact for more information or to arrange a visit to the doctors. From here, claimants will receive a letter confirming whether or not the benefit will be allocated.
For more detailed tips on filling out the Attendance Allowance form, visit the Age UK website here.
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