MSE Guide: Attendance Allowance

This is the place to discuss our new Attendance Allowance guide. 

We'd love to hear your thoughts, personal experiences, and general feedback. 

If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply. If you aren’t sure how it all works, read our New to Forum? Intro Guide.
«1

Comments

  • Murphybear
    Murphybear Posts: 7,248
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic First Post
    Forumite
    Thanks for producing this.

    I applied for AA in May last year and was successful.  It took 10 weeks for the first payment to appear in my bank account and the letter telling me I had been awarded it arrived 2 weeks later.

    Before I applied I did a lot of research, advice from Age U.K. and Citizens Advice was particularly good.  I’ve had experience with DWP forms before, particularly the notorious ESA.  Sadly according to official government figures ~ 58% of people get turned down when they apply.  From the Age UK website “Many applications are turned down because people don't mention, or aren't clear about, how their illness or disability affects their lives. It's important that you don't underestimate your needs when filling in the form. “. There is a very good section on their website entitled “tips to help with the Attendance Allowance form”

    I would advise people who are applying for AA to get some help with the application and get them to double check the form to make sure you haven’t left anything out, it is clear and it is signed.  A lot of people find the form a bit long and intimidating so having someone to help will make it easier.  Then get it photocopied before sending it in case the DWP lose it or you get turned down as you will need if you want to appeal.

    Since I started getting AA I have helped quite a lot of people apply themselves.  I live in sheltered housing and there are 33 people aged 60 - 97, many of whom would benefit from the extra help.  Quite a few were concerned that they couldn’t get any money as they didn’t have a carer so I explained that they didn’t need a carer just have the need for one. The DWP do make it clear that the money can be spent on anything and it is useful to improve their quality of life.    Some people I know use some of the money for taxis to the GP or hospital (we live in a rural area where buses are rare) and this helps them immensely.  

    So far all the ones I’ve helped have been awarded the AA but none have been asked to attend an interview.  This is why I’ve suggested that getting help to complete the form is really important as it will probably increase their chances of being accepted.  

    I hope this helps 
  • Rubyroobs
    Rubyroobs Posts: 848
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    People don't even have to need a carer, they just have to have difficulties several times a day. In my experience it seems to be a pretty low threshold for being awarded it if , like you say you explain difficulties s fully as possible.
  • Just downloaded the form. 30 pages! For goodness sake! AND the associated Help guide is an extra 12. On a home printer that is a LOT of ink.
  • Misslayed
    Misslayed Posts: 13,989
    Homepage Hero First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Senior Ambassador
    TBF there's a lot of empty space on many of the pages - and the help pages can be viewed online. 
    My first payment arrived in my bank account 5 weeks after it was received by DWP, no interview. 
    I’m a Senior Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Competition Time, Site Feedback and Marriage, Relationships and Families boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected] All views are my own and not the official line of Money Saving Expert.
  • Robbie64
    Robbie64 Posts: 1,930
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Forumite
    edited 7 December 2023 at 10:33PM
    Just downloaded the form. 30 pages! For goodness sake! AND the associated Help guide is an extra 12. On a home printer that is a LOT of ink.
    The form is intended for the person to provide as much information as possible which is why it is so lengthy. If enough information is provided then the person may not need an assessment. I worked as a visiting officer for the old DHSS (now the DWP) in the 1980s and used to carry blank AA claim forms with me - the forms were 4 pages in total back then. However, just about every claim back then required a doctor to do a home visit and to ask much the same questions and collect the same information that is now included on the current form. As you can guess, it is now cheaper to administer the system without the cost of employing as many medical professionals.
  • Robbie64 said:
    Just downloaded the form. 30 pages! For goodness sake! AND the associated Help guide is an extra 12. On a home printer that is a LOT of ink.
    The form is intended for the person to provide as much information as possible which is why it is so lengthy. If enough information is provided then the person may not need an assessment. I worked as a visiting officer for the old DHSS (now the DWP) in the 1980s and used to carry blank AA claim forms with me - the forms were 4 pages in total back then. However, just about every claim back then required a doctor to do a home visit and to ask much the same questions and collect the same information that is now included on the current form. As you can guess, it is now cheaper to administer the system without the cost of employing as many medical professionals.
    And likely less stressful for most people not to have a face-to-face assessment, rather being able to fill out the form at their own pace with time to really think about the details.
  • Murphybear
    Murphybear Posts: 7,248
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic First Post
    Forumite
    Robbie64 said:
    Just downloaded the form. 30 pages! For goodness sake! AND the associated Help guide is an extra 12. On a home printer that is a LOT of ink.
    The form is intended for the person to provide as much information as possible which is why it is so lengthy. If enough information is provided then the person may not need an assessment. I worked as a visiting officer for the old DHSS (now the DWP) in the 1980s and used to carry blank AA claim forms with me - the forms were 4 pages in total back then. However, just about every claim back then required a doctor to do a home visit and to ask much the same questions and collect the same information that is now included on the current form. As you can guess, it is now cheaper to administer the system without the cost of employing as many medical professionals.
    I think some older people would have anxiety levels through the roof at the thought of having to have a home visit.  A few of the people I’ve helped have asked me about this upfront and I’ve explained that if between us we can make sure every detail about their medical issues and how they affect them enough to need care is made clear they are unlikely to need a home visit.  
  • Robbie64
    Robbie64 Posts: 1,930
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Forumite
    Robbie64 said:
    Just downloaded the form. 30 pages! For goodness sake! AND the associated Help guide is an extra 12. On a home printer that is a LOT of ink.
    The form is intended for the person to provide as much information as possible which is why it is so lengthy. If enough information is provided then the person may not need an assessment. I worked as a visiting officer for the old DHSS (now the DWP) in the 1980s and used to carry blank AA claim forms with me - the forms were 4 pages in total back then. However, just about every claim back then required a doctor to do a home visit and to ask much the same questions and collect the same information that is now included on the current form. As you can guess, it is now cheaper to administer the system without the cost of employing as many medical professionals.
    And likely less stressful for most people not to have a face-to-face assessment, rather being able to fill out the form at their own pace with time to really think about the details.
    Indeed. I believe back then the first most people would know about what questions they would be asked was when the doctor arrived at the house and began to ask the questions. The way claims were administered back then did actually keep the number of new claims at a much lower level due to people being put off claiming. It was only when working age AA claims were split away from those of older people when DLA was introduced in 1992 that the form aimed to capture more and more of the evidence gathering process (i.e. the amount of pages in the AA form increased massively!).

  • Robbie64
    Robbie64 Posts: 1,930
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Forumite
    Robbie64 said:
    Just downloaded the form. 30 pages! For goodness sake! AND the associated Help guide is an extra 12. On a home printer that is a LOT of ink.
    The form is intended for the person to provide as much information as possible which is why it is so lengthy. If enough information is provided then the person may not need an assessment. I worked as a visiting officer for the old DHSS (now the DWP) in the 1980s and used to carry blank AA claim forms with me - the forms were 4 pages in total back then. However, just about every claim back then required a doctor to do a home visit and to ask much the same questions and collect the same information that is now included on the current form. As you can guess, it is now cheaper to administer the system without the cost of employing as many medical professionals.
    I think some older people would have anxiety levels through the roof at the thought of having to have a home visit.  A few of the people I’ve helped have asked me about this upfront and I’ve explained that if between us we can make sure every detail about their medical issues and how they affect them enough to need care is made clear they are unlikely to need a home visit.  
    Some people might find the old system of home visits more beneficial but I agree that many would have anxiety levels through the roof if home visits once again became the norm rather than the exception. I think some people can get called in to an assessment centre for a face-to-face assessment but I can't see how that can work in practice if the elderly person is frail or needs a lot of help.
  • Dikda
    What follows is a copy of an e-mail of 5/12/23
    "I am so pleased that you are giving this subject some attention!
     
    My daughter and son-in-law took advice from a lady who had a charity involvement and was experienced in completing this type of application. With her help, they successfully applied on behalf of the other in-laws who without question had a clear entitlement with all sorts of living difficulties to cope with.
    They then turned their attention to me – an unusually fit 86 year old with all my faculties and still coping without my wife and living alone and employing no one. When it was suggested that I may well also be entitled, I totally discounted the possibility having examined the form on the web. They persisted, with the guidance of the ‘expert’ and I finally succumbed to an interview, expressing my doubts. The expert’s response was that ‘she wouldn’t waste her time if she did not believe that I had an entitlement’.
    I am an ex-engineer/manager who worked as a trouble-shooting consultant in the contracting industry, so very analytical and not stupid. I was totally embarrassed  - she was right and I was wrong and am now the recipient of the allowance at the maximum rate which is close to £5,000 per year!!!
    The moral of the story is two fold. We are very poor at making truly objective personal assessments of our own lives (we tend to minimise our difficulties because we are accustomed to coping) and the completion of this type of document NEEDS THE HELP OF SOMEONE EXPERIENCED in the presentation ‘form’ to suit the assessor. There is no doubt that the style of the responses is VITALLY important to the success of the application. Assistance/guidance from perhaps Help the Aged, Age UK, or a similar organisation would be highly recommended.
     
    Sorry that it is this long, but please feel free to edit without losing the moral!
     
    All good wishes and more power to your elbow!
    IF you publish I would prefer to remain anonymous"
Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 341.7K Banking & Borrowing
  • 249.7K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.1K Spending & Discounts
  • 233.9K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 606K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 172.5K Life & Family
  • 246.8K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.8K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards