Do I qualify for Attendance Allowance (AA)?

Given the restriction measures currently in place due to coronavirus, some rules around claiming and assessments for benefits have been changed or relaxed in the short term. Please check our Coronavirus (Covid-19): Welfare and benefits section to ensure you are getting the most up to date information or call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999, from 8am to 8pm weekdays or 9am to 1pm Saturdays.

To get AA you have to be state pension age or older and be able to show that you need help because of your disability; it does not matter whether any help is actually being provided. AA is tax free and can be paid on top of any other pensions, benefits or other income you have. You will only qualify for AA when you have needed help for at least six months.

There are two levels of AA. If you need help during the day or during the night you may qualify for the lower rate. If you need help during both the day and night you may qualify for the higher rate.

Before requesting an application form, remember that to make a claim for AA you must:

  • Be habitually resident in the UK – this is decided by looking at a number of factors including reasons for coming to the UK, the length of your stay, future intentions, and previous links with the country.
  • Satisfy the past presence test – you will have had to be present in the UK for 104 out of the previous 156 weeks (two out of the last three years). You do not have to satisfy the past presence test if you have a terminal illness.

These rules are complicated and there are some exceptions, for instance if you are living in an European Economic Area (EEA) country, so please seek advice if you think you may have difficulty passing these tests.

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