This guide provides a simple introduction to benefits that you and your carer may be entitled to. These are entitlements and we would encourage you to claim. Please also see the notes at the end of this guide.
We have listed the events normally held so you can decide what may be of interest for the future. Due to the impact of COVID-19 (Corona Virus), certain events quoted here may well have been suspended until further notice. Please check the current status with the relevant organisation on any events and indeed on services as well. If they have been suspended at present, please ask to be advised once the event/service is to be restarted.
For people who have been diagnosed with dementia and who are over pension age, the main benefit that is appropriate is Attendance Allowance once they have needed help for 6 months or more. More information can be found on the Age UK website (www.ageuk.org.uk 01296 431911) and Alzheimer’s Association website (www.alzheimers.org.uk 0333150 3456)
This does not depend on a person’s income or savings but is dependent difficulties with everyday tasks. It is paid at 2 levels –
- If help is needed in the daytime or night-time it pays £59.70 per week
- If help is needed in the daytime and night-time it pays £89.15 per week
regardless of whether the person is already in receipt of care day and night.
A hard copy of the form can be obtained by phoning the Department of Work and Pensions ( DWP ) Attendance Allowance Helpline on 0800 731 0122 and the claim will be backdated to the date of the phone call, as long as the form is returned within 6 weeks.
The form can be downloaded from the www.gov.uk website, at Age UK and the Alzheimer’s Society, but the claim will only start from the date the completed form is received in that case.
To be able to give the relevant details on the form, it is a good idea to keep a diary for at least a week to show what difficulties the person has and what care and supervision they need and for how long. Don’t leave things out, even if it is felt that they can manage well enough.
Attendance Allowance will continue to be paid until such time as the person receives state funded care in a hospital or care home setting for more than 28 days at which time the DWP must be notified of the change in circumstances.
What You Should Write About on the Form
The DWP will use the completed form to decide whether Attendance Allowance applies.
They will be looking to see:
- What difficulties the person has or how much help you they need e.g. personal care such as getting in and out of a chair or bed, dressing and washing, going to the toilet, staying safe, medication, walking, eating and drinking and remembering to do so
- What sort of help they need
They do not have to be receiving help at the moment – the important thing is that they need it. For example, they might need to hold on to furniture to move around their home or they may be at risk of harm without regular supervision.
Take care not to understate their needs. Where their needs vary from day to day it is best to record what happens on a bad day rather than on a good day.
How to Answer Questions About Personal Tasks
Questions 27-43 ask about their care needs with personal tasks. Do not leave things out, even if you they feel that they can manage well enough. It is really important that the blank boxes are used to explain if they:
- Have difficulty or need someone to help them with personal tasks – for example washing, getting out of bed or getting dressed
- Have difficulty or need someone to supervise them throughout the day to make sure they stay safe – for example to stop them falling or to look after them if they have seizures or blackouts
- Have difficulty or need someone to help with personal tasks repeatedly during the night for example if they need help getting out of bed, going to the toilet or changing the sheets if they have an accident
- Need someone to watch over them or supervise them during the night to make sure they are safe for example in case they have a fit while their asleep, or to stop them falling over if they to get up
Remember that confusion, memory impairment, poor safety awareness and disorientation do not stop being a concern at night. These are needs that remain 24 hours per day.
Pension Credit is a means tested benefit which aims to provide a minimum level of income, currently £173.75 per week for a single person and £265.20 per week for couples. Disability related benefits such as Attendance Allowance are not included in this calculation.
Savings in excess of £10,000 attract a tariff income of £1 for every £500 over this figure.
This is quite a complex benefit which also takes into account multiple factors and in order to remove doubt, we suggest that you either use the Pension Credit calculator at https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator or contact the Pension Credit Helpline on 0800 991234. You will need to have full details of all of the person’s benefits and pensions, savings and investments to hand, together with their National Insurance Number.
This is worth exploring because people in receipt of Pension Credit may also be eligible for other benefits such has housing benefit, council tax reduction and help with health costs such as dental and optician charges.
Further information about Pension Credit and how to apply can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit or by calling the Pension Credit Helpline on 0800 991234
Housing Benefit & Council Tax Reduction
People who are renting, whose household income is low and whose savings are less than £16,000, may be entitled to Housing Benefit to help pay their rent and to a reduction of their Council Tax. Contact Buckinghamshire Council on the Wycombe number 01494 412227 to ask for help with filling in the form. Further information can be found at: Housing Benefit – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Anyone living on their own is entitled to a Council Tax Reduction of 25%.
There is also an entitlement to Council Tax reduction if a person with dementia is severally mentally impaired. The most common qualifying benefits to claim this are Attendance Allowance (at either the higher or lower rate), Disability Allowance, and Personal Independence allowance. You will need to contact the Council and provide written evidence of diagnosis and receipt of one the named disability benefits.
Further information can be found at: Help with Council Tax payments | Buckinghamshire Council
Under Pension Age
Personal Independence Payment ( PIP) is financial support towards the costs associated with living with a long-term disability. It is paid to people over the age of 16 who have not reached state retirement age. There are two components; the mobility component which is paid at either £23.60 or £62.25 per week and the daily living component which is paid at either £59.70 or £89.15 per week. A claim can be made by calling the PIP Helpline on 0800 917 2222 between 08.00 – 18.00 Monday to Friday. Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/pip
In the event that PIP is awarded an application can then be made to the Council for a reduction in Council Tax on the grounds of a confirmed diagnosis of mental impairment and receipt of a disability related benefit. Further information can be found at Help with Council Tax payments | Buckinghamshire Council
The relationship between Universal Credit, Income Support and Employment Support Allowance is complex and dependent on a number of factors including household income. The simplest way to ascertain eligibility is by using a Benefits Calculator. These can be found at https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators where you will also find the links to these benefits individually.
Carer’s Allowance is a means tested benefit paid to carers who provide a minimum of 35 hours per week to an individual in receipt of a disability related benefit, such as Attendance Allowance. It is currently £67.25 per week and is only available to individuals with earned income of no more than £128 per week or who receive state pension or other state benefits that are no more than £67.25 per week.
People whose income alone precludes them from receiving Carers Allowance may nonetheless be eligible for an underlying entitlement to an increase in any other means tested benefits they receive or enable them to claim them for the first time.
Carer’s Credit protects the National Insurance record of people who are unable to work due to their caring role. Individuals unable to claim Carer’s Allowance may still be able to claim Carer’s Credit.
Please call the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297. Alternatively, further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance
Further advice and information about applying for DWP benefits can be found at
Thank you to Claire Edwards RN Eldercare Consultant for her assistance in compiling this factsheet.
Tel. 07415 387129 www.eldercareconsultant.co.uk
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