Many people living in care homes are not aware of all the different benefits and allowances they may be entitled to claim. This factsheet provides a comprehensive guide.
What is attendance allowance?
Attendance Allowance (AA) is a weekly benefit paid to help people for the extra costs associated with having a disability or long-term health condition. The principle behind the allowance is that it is for people with disabilities or health problems which mean they need to be attended to during the day/and or the night to prevent them from suffering harm or danger.
- The lower rate of £55.10 per week is paid if a person needs help frequently during the day or during the night.
- The higher rate of £82.30 per week is paid if a person needs help during both the day and night.
The rates above apply from April 2016–March 2017.
People who pay the full cost of their care home fees are entitled to claim or continue to receive attendance allowance. For those receiving funding from the local authority; attendance allowance will be counted as income and included in the means test calculation as income. Payments of attendance allowance directly to the client will cease.
Those in receipt of funding under the 12 week property disregard scheme will lose their attendance allowance, but it will re-start when they become self funding. Please note, if this applies to you or your relative, you need to ask for your attendance allowance to restart once you become self-funding.
Attendance allowance will stop when a person has been in hospital for four weeks. It is advisable for clients to notify the benefits office in this instance as any over-payments will have to be repaid.
The Disability Living Allowance (care component) is treated in the same way as attendance allowance.
Options after 12 week property disregard
In these circumstances it is advisable to seek specialist advice. Options may include the following:
- Deferred Payments Agreement (at the discretion of the Local Authority)
- Reviewing Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance
- Care Fee Income (annuity) Plans
- General Investment
Old Age (State) Pension
Weekly rates for 2015/2016 are:
- Full rate based on client’s own, late spouse’s or civil partner’s NI contribution = £115.95 per week, £231.90 for a married couple
- Over 80 pension: paid where a person receives no state pension or less than full entitlement to basic state pension at age 80 = £69.50
The state pension age for women will gradually increase to 65 between 2010 and 2020
Pension credit is a means tested benefit designed to ensure that people over the age of 60 have a guaranteed level of income (through the Guarantee Credit element) and that people over the age of 65 are rewarded if they have made some provision for their retirement rather than just relying on State Pension (through the Savings Credit element). The pension credit income guarantee is £151.20 for single people and £230.85 for couples per week for 2015/16. For a resident living in a care home, capital up to £10,000 is disregarded from the means test calculation.
Personal Expenses Allowance
If a client is eligible for local authority funding they will have to contribute all their income towards the care home fees, apart from a personal expenses allowance. They should never be asked to put any part of their PEA towards their fees.
- Personal Expenses Allowance for 2015/16 = £24.90
The PEA is for purchasing personal items such as clothing, toiletries, newspapers and some personal services such as hairdressing.