Attendance Allowance (AA) – A Guide

Focus on Disability - For Disabled People, the Elderly and their Carers in the UK

Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit for people aged 65 or over who need someone to help look after them because they are physically disabled or mentally disabled. Find out if you are eligible and how to claim.

See also: Benefit Rates

You may get Attendance Allowance if:

  • you have a physical disability (including sensory disability, such as blindness), a mental disability (including learning difficulties), or both
  • your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself or someone to supervise you, for your own or someone else’s safety
  • you are aged 65 or over when you claim

Normally, you must have had these care or supervision needs for at least six months. However, if you are terminally ill, there are special rules for claiming the benefit.

If you are under age 65, you may be able to get Disability Living Allowance.

Attendance Allowance is not usually affected by any savings or income you may have.

Attendance Allowance – eligibility

You may be able to get Attendance Allowance if you are aged 65 or over and need help with personal care or supervision to keep you safe.

Your care needs

To get Attendance Allowance, your disability must be severe enough for you to need any of the following:

  • help with things such as washing (and getting in or out of the bath or shower), dressing, eating, getting to and using the toilet, or communicating your needs
  • supervision to avoid putting yourself or others in substantial danger, for example, needing someone to keep an eye on your medical condition or diet, or because you cannot control the way you behave
  • someone with you when you are on dialysis

There are two rates of Attendance Allowance depending on how your disability affects you:

  • the lower rate, if you need help with personal care frequently or supervision continually throughout the day only, help with personal care or someone to watch over you during the night only, or someone with you when you are on dialysis
  • the higher rate, if you meet both a day and a night condition for the middle rate, or if you are terminally ill and claiming under special rules (see below)

You can get Attendance Allowance even if no one is actually giving you the care you need – even if you live alone.

Special rules – if you are terminally ill

If you have a progressive disease and are not reasonably expected to live for more than another six months, there are special rules to help you get Attendance Allowance more quickly and easily. You can get the higher rate immediately, whatever your care needs are, without waiting until you have needed help for six months.

You can make a claim for someone under the special rules without them knowing or without their permission. If they satisfy the relevant conditions, they will get a letter saying that they have been awarded Attendance Allowance, but special rules will not be mentioned.

To claim under these special rules, complete an Attendance Allowance claim form and get a separate completed form DS1500 from your doctor, specialist or consultant to send with it.

You can find out more about caring for someone who is terminally ill in the ‘caring for someone’ section.

Attendance Allowance – your circumstances

There are certain conditions about your residence and presence which you need to meet to get Attendance Allowance. You need to tell the office that deals with your payments when your circumstances change.

Changes in your circumstances

Changes to your circumstances can affect whether you should get Attendance Allowance or the amount you get. This includes if your care needs change, if you go into a National Health Service hospital or a care home, or if you go abroad to live or visit.

It is important to contact the office that deals with your payments.

Your disability or medical condition

Changes in circumstances include you, or someone you claim for, needing less help with personal care or supervision, because your condition has improved or you have an aid to help you.

If your condition, or the condition of someone you care for, gets worse and you need more help, this could mean that you, or the disabled person, can get more money.

National Health Service (NHS) hospitals

Changes in circumstances include you, or someone you claim for, going into or leaving a National Health Service hospital.

Care homes

A permanent or temporary stay in a care home can affect your Attendance Allowance.

Going abroad to live or visit

If you are going to live abroad permanently you cannot usually get Attendance Allowance.

If you move to another country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and you already receive Attendance Allowance, you may continue to get it under certain circumstances.

If your visit abroad is temporary, you may continue to get Attendance Allowance if:

  • your absence from Great Britain does not last more than 26 weeks (this includes going on holiday)
  • your absence is only to get medical treatment for a condition which began before leaving Great Britain
  • Leaving the UK – Benefits Advice

Living in Great Britain

To get Attendance Allowance you must generally:

  • be ordinarily resident in Great Britain (England, Scotland or Wales)
  • be present in Great Britain
  • have been in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey for at least 26 weeks out of the last 52 weeks (this does not apply for people paid under the special rules)
  • not be subject to immigration control

Immigration control does not stop you from getting Attendance Allowance if you are:

  • a family member of a national of a European Economic Area country
  • working in Great Britain as a national of a country which has an equal-treatment agreement with the European Union – that is Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and San Marino
  • living with one of these workers as a member of their family
  • a person who has been allowed to come into or stay in the UK because someone has agreed to be responsible for your maintenance and accommodation

You may be treated as being present in Great Britain if you are:

  • a member of HM Armed Forces serving abroad or a member of their family
  • a mariner or civilian airman working abroad
  • working on the United Kingdom sector of the continental shelf – on an oil rig, for example

If you are already living in another European Economic Area country or Switzerland, find out more on the link below about whether you can get Attendance Allowance in the country where you are living.

Medical examinations

You will not usually need a medical examination when you claim for Attendance Allowance, but sometimes it is necessary in order to assess how your condition affects you.

How much do you get?

The amount you get depends on how much your disability affects you. There are two rates of Attendance Allowance.

Attendance Allowance – how to claim

Attendance Allowance is paid at two rates depending on how your disability affects you. The claim pack gives some examples of different levels of care needs. You can claim Attendance Allowance online.

How to claim

Claim straight away – if you delay you may lose benefit.

You can claim online or get a claim pack by:

  • downloading the form directly from this page

Claim online

To claim Attendance Allowance online use the link below and follow the on-screen instructions.

Download a form to print at home

You can also download a claim form to print off and fill in using a pen or complete the form on your computer and print off. The form comes with notes that will help you fill it in and tell you where to send it. We will treat the day we get your form back as the date of your claim.

If you are going to complete the form on your computer, we recommend that you save the form on your computer before completing it: to do this simply right click with your mouse on the link below and choose the ‘Save Target As’ option. You cannot save the form once you’ve opened it in an internet browser.

Once you have filled in the form, you can print and sign it.

If you are having technical difficulties with the claim form

If you are having technical difficulties – for example, downloading the form, navigating around the form or printing a hard copy – please contact the eService helpdesk:

Phone: 0845 601 80 40

Textphone: 0845 601 80 39


The eService helpdesk is open 8.00 am to 9.00 pm Monday to Friday and 8.00 am to 4.00 pm Saturday and Sunday.

Once you have made your claim

Once you have made your claim, you can get advice on Attendance Allowance from the Disability Living Allowance/Attendance Allowance Helpline who should have access to your records.

Telephone: 08457 123 456

Textphone: 08457 22 44 33

The helpline is open from 7.30 am to 6.30 pm Monday to Friday.


You can also use the RNID Text Relay service.

It will usually take around 22 working days to deal with your claim, unless the claim is made under the special rules, in which case it will be dealt with much more quickly.

Effect on other benefits and entitlements

If your claim for Attendance Allowance is successful, you may get extra money for severe disability paid as part of:

If someone claims Carer’s Allowance for providing care to you and they are paid Carer’s Allowance you may not be able to receive this extra amount.

You can download a leaflet with this information and advice about Carer’s Allowance.

For more information, you should contact the office dealing with your claim or contact the Disability Living Allowance/Attendance Allowance Helpline.

If you think a decision about your benefit is wrong

If you think a decision about your benefit claim is wrong you can ask the office who made the decision to explain it. You can also ask to have the decision reconsidered and, if you’re still unhappy, you can, in most cases, appeal against the decision.

How it is paid

Attendance Allowance is normally paid directly into any account of your choice which accepts Direct Payment of benefits. This might be a bank, building society or other account provider.

You may be able to get someone else to collect your Attendance Allowance if you wish. For help with this please contact your bank, building society or other account provider.

If you would like more information about how you can be paid by other means, please contact the office dealing with your claim.

Effect on other benefits and entitlements

If you start to get Attendance Allowance, it might increase the amount of other benefits or credits you are entitled to. You may get an extra amount for severe disability with Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or Pension Credit.

Attendance Allowance is normally ignored as income for working out these income-related benefits and credit.