Children's handbook Scotland
Chapter 1: Benefits and tax credits
2. Attendance allowance
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2. Attendance allowance

Attendance allowance (AA) is a benefit for people who have reached pension age and who have care needs because of a disability. AA is not means tested and you do not have to have paid any national insurance contributions to get it.

The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for the administration of AA.


Who can claim attendance allowance

You qualify for AA if you:Footnote

have reached pension age when you first claim. At the time of writing, this means you must be aged 65 or over. Your pension age will be after you turn 65 if you were born on or after 6 December 1953 (ie, if you reach 65 on or after 6 December 2018) and it is due to rise to 66 by September 2020. People aged between 16 and pension age may be able to claim personal independence payment (see Cross reference) and children aged under 16 may be able to claim disability living allowance (DLA – see Cross reference); and

satisfy certain UK residence and presence conditions and are not a 'person subject to immigration control'. See CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details; and

satisfy the disability test (see Cross reference); and

have satisfied the disability test for the last six months (unless you are terminally ill).


Disability test

You get either a lower or a higher rate of AA. The disability conditions for the lower rate are the same as for the middle rate care component of DLA (see Cross reference). The conditions for the higher rate are the same as for the highest rate care component of DLA (see Cross reference).


Amount of benefit

Weekly rate

£
Lower rate 57.30
Higher rate 85.60

3. Carer’s allowance

-Carer’s allowance (CA) is a benefit for people who spend at least 35 hours a week looking after a disabled adult or disabled child. You do not have to have paid any national insurance contributions to get CA.

The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for the administration of CA.

CA will transfer to the Scottish Government. Before then, you get a carer's allowance supplement if you get CA and you live in Scotland (see Cross reference).


Who can claim carer’s allowance

You qualify for CA if you:Footnote

are aged at least 16; and

are caring for a person receiving either the highest or the middle rate care component of disability living allowance (DLA), either rate of the daily living component of personal independence payment (PIP), either rate of attendance allowance (AA), armed forces independence payment or constant attendance allowance with an industrial injury benefit or war pension; and

are providing care that is regular and substantial (at least 35 hours a week); and

are not gainfully employed. This means your earnings must be no more than £120 a week; and

are not a full-time student; and

are not a 'person subject to immigration control' and you satisfy the residence conditions. See CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details.


The disabled person’s benefit

Your entitlement to CA depends on the person for whom you care continuing to get her/his disability benefit. If her/his benefit stops, your benefit should also stop. To avoid being overpaid, make sure you tell the Carer’s Allowance Unit (see Appendix 1) if the disabled person’s AA, PIP or DLA stops being paid, or if you are no longer providing care for 35 hours or more a week.

If you are caring for a disabled adult, it is not always financially prudent to claim CA. Although it may mean more money for you, it could result in the person for whom you care losing some income support (IS), income-based JSA, income-related employment and support allowance (ESA), pension credit (PC), housing benefit (HB) or council tax reduction (CTR). S/he may be getting a severe disability premium/addition included in these benefits. S/he cannot continue to get this premium if you get CA for her/him. See CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details.


Breaks from caring
You can have a short, temporary break from caring and still remain entitled to CA. You can have a break of up to four weeks in any period of 26 weeks, or a break of 12 weeks if either you or the person for whom you care is receiving treatment in hospital for at least eight of the 12 weeks, providing the person you care for is still getting her/his disability benefit.
Overlapping benefits

Although CA is not means tested, you cannot receive it at the same time as contributory ESA, incapacity benefit, maternity allowance, severe disablement allowance, bereavement benefits, retirement pension or contribution-based JSA. If you are eligible for more than one of these benefits, you generally get whichever is worth the most.


Carer premium, carer addition and carer element

If you are entitled to CA (even if you are not paid it because of the overlapping benefit rules), a carer premium or carer addition is included in your IS, income-based JSA, income-related ESA, PC, HB and CTR. In universal credit, a carer element is included if you satisfy the rules for CA or would satisfy them except that your earnings are too high.Footnote


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