These pages are about benefits in the UK. If you are looking for information about benefits in another country, please contact your local epilepsy organisation
What is Attendance Allowance?
Attendance Allowance is a benefit to help with personal care if you are disabled and have reached state pension age. It does not cover mobility needs.
What will I get?
You could get either £59.70 or £89.15 a week. You get the lower amount if you need help during either the day or night. You get the higher amount if you need help during both the day and night.
These amounts were correct in April 2020.
You don’t have to use the money to pay for care. It is up to you how you use it. But your Local Authority may take your Attendance Allowance into account when deciding how much money, if any, you need to pay towards any care services you receive.
Attendane Allowance is not affected by any money you earn, or any savings you may have.
Any other benefits you get could increase if you get Attendance Allowance. If you have a carer, they may be able to get Carer’s Allowance.
Can I get Attendance Allowance?
To get Attendance Allowance you must have reached state pension age. You must also have a disability which is severe enough that you need:
- Help caring for yourself, and/or
- Someone to supervise you to keep you or others safe
It doesn’t matter if you are actually getting any care or supervision. What matters is that you need it.
You cannot usually get Attendance Allowance if you live in a care home and your care is paid for by your local authority. You can still claim Attendance Allowance if you pay for all your care home costs yourself.
To qualify for Attendance Allowance at the lower rate you need to meet either the daytime conditions or the night-time conditions. To qualify for the higher rate of Attendance Allowance you need to meet both the daytime and night-time conditions.
To meet the daytime conditions you must need:
- Frequent help throughout the day in connection with your bodily functions, or
- Continual supervision throughout the day to avoid danger to you or others. This doesn’t need to be non-stop supervision, but must be regular checking
To meet the night-time conditions you must need:
- Prolonged (at least 20 minutes) or repeated (at least twice) attention at night in connection with your bodily functions, or
- Another person to be awake at night for a prolonged period (at least 20 minutes) or at frequent intervals to watch over you in order to avoid danger to you or others
Bodily functions mean things like getting dressed, eating, washing, going to the toilet or taking medicine.
How do I claim Attendance Allowance?
In Northern Ireland call the Disability and Carers Service on 0800 587 0912 and ask for a claim pack. Or download a claim form from the nidirect website.
Filling in the claim form
The claim form asks questions about your ability to carry out activities, and whether or not you need help to do them. With each question, think about whether you might need help to do that activity, even if you don’t get that help at the moment.
Question 32 asks if you fall or stumble because of your illnesses or disabilities. This includes falls because of seizures.
There are also questions on the form about supervision. If you need someone to keep an eye on you because you might have seizures, you can explain this on these sections of the form.
With a variable condition like epilepsy, your condition might not affect you in the same way each day. If this is the case for you, it can help to keep a note over a few days, or weeks, of any tasks you needed help with. Also note down any supervision you needed. You can then refer to this when filling in the form.
What happens next?
After you have returned the claim form, your doctor or other health professional you named on the form might be contacted for more information. Sometimes you might need to have a medical assessment to confirm if you are eligible. Once the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has made its decision, you will get a letter telling you whether you can get Attendance Allowance, and at what rate. In Northern Ireland, the Disability and Carers Service makes the decision.
What can I do if I’m not happy with the decision?
If you’re not happy with the decision you can ask the DWP to look at your case again. This is called a Mandatory Reconsideration.
If the DWP has looked at your case again, and you are still unhappy with the decision, you can appeal. For more information on appeals and reconsiderations see the appeals and reconsiderations factsheet information and links on the Disability Rights UK website. To appeal in Northern Ireland see the nidirect website.
Epilepsy Action has a list of useful organisations for support with benefits.
This information has been produced under the terms of Epilepsy Action's information quality standards.
- Updated April 2020To be reviewed April 2021