The latest figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that there are now nearly 1.5 million people over State Pension age receiving regular financial support for a health condition through Attendance Allowance, including 129,641 living in Scotland. The benefit is worth either £68.10 or £101.75 each week - £272.40 or £407.00 each pay period - and is designed to help older people with additional daily living expenses stay in their own home for longer.
The DWP provides support for dozens of health conditions through Attendance Allowance, with more than 103,000 people receiving payments to help with heart-related issues, including angina, coronary heart disease, arrhythmia and high blood pressure. The most common heart condition in Scotland is coronary heart disease.
This is caused when the heart’s blood vessels - the coronary arteries - become narrowed or blocked and can’t supply enough blood to the heart, it can lead to angina and/or a heart attack.
Another common condition is angina - chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscles - which is not usually life threatening, but more of a warning sign that you could be at risk of a heart attack or stroke. It is estimated there are 96,000 new cases of angina each year, with approximately two million people in the UK now diagnosed with the condition.
The main symptom of angina is chest pain, this can:
- feel like a dull pain, ache, 'heavy' or 'tight' feeling in your chest
- spread to your arms, neck, jaw or back
- be triggered by physical exertion
With treatment and healthy lifestyle changes, it's possible to control angina and reduce the risk of these more serious problems.
If you have a heart-related condition and find it difficult to complete simple tasks like cooking, washing or getting dressed, you could be eligible for Attendance Allowance.
Older people claiming Attendance Allowance for heart conditions
Number of people currently receiving the benefit for a heart condition across Great Britain:
- Scotland - 9,260
- England - 86,749
- Wales - 7,013
- Living abroad - 303
- Total - 103,330
Below is an overview of what you should know about the benefit, including how to start your application for Attendance Allowance on GOV.UK.
What is Attendance Allowance?
Attendance Allowance helps with extra costs if you have a physical or mental disability or illness severe enough that makes it hard for you to look after yourself - it does not cover mobility needs. You do not need to have someone caring for you in order to make a claim.
Who can make a claim?
You should consider applying for Attendance Allowance if you have a disability or illness and need help or supervision throughout the day or at times during the night -even if you do not currently get that help.
This might include:
Help with your personal care - for example getting dressed, eating or drinking, getting in and out of bed, bathing or showering and going to the toilet
Help to stay safe
You should also consider applying if you have difficulties with personal tasks, for example if they take you a long time, you experience pain or you need physical help, like a chair to lean on.
Attendance Allowance is not just for people with a physical disability or illness.
You should also consider claiming if you need help or supervision throughout the day or night and have:
a mental health condition
a sensory condition - if you are deaf or blind
How much could I get on Attendance Allowance?
You could get either £68.10 or £101.75 a week depending on the level of care you need because of your condition, which is paid every four weeks and works out at £272.40 and £407.00 respectively.
You can spend the money however you like and it could help you stay independent in your own home for longer.
This might include:
paying for taxis
helping towards bills
paying for a cleaner or gardener
Can I claim even if I have savings and other income?
Yes. Attendance Allowance isn't means-tested so it doesn't matter what other money you have coming in or how much you have in savings either - there's no limit.
It’s tax-free and you'll be exempt from the Benefit Cap so you won't have money taken away from any other benefits.
Will Attendance Allowance affect my State Pension?
No, it won't affect your State Pension and you can even claim it if you're still working and earning money.
How does Attendance Allowance affect other benefits?
The other benefits you get might increase if you get Attendance Allowance, these include:
Extra Pension Credit
Housing Benefit Reduction
Council Tax Reduction
You can check your State Pension age on the GOV.UK website here.
How do I make a claim?
You will need to complete a long claim form when you apply for Attendance Allowance. It might seem daunting at first but help is available from your nearest Citizens Advice, so don't let the form put you off applying.
If you'd prefer to do it yourself you can follow the Citizens Advice guide on how to fill in your claim form here. Full details of how to get the application form by post or over the phone can be found on the Gov.uk website here.
What happens if I am about to reach State Pension age?
If you're thinking about applying for Attendance Allowance when you reach State Pension age, you might be better off claiming PIP straight away.
If you claim PIP and get it, the amount you get will depend on your circumstances and how your disability or illness affects you. Find out more about claiming PIP on the GOV.UK website here.
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Who cannot claim Attendance Allowance?
You won't be able to get Attendance Allowance if you already get PIP or DLA to pay for your care. If you apply for Attendance Allowance while getting DLA, the DWP will usually reassess your DLA award instead.
You can renew your PIP or DLA when the existing award ends as long as you still meet the eligibility criteria. If your renewal is unsuccessful you can apply for Attendance Allowance instead.
Find out more about Attendance Allowance on the GOV.UK website here.
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