For people who have been diagnosed with dementia and who are over pension age, the main benefit that is appropriate is Attendance Allowance once you have needed help for six months.
Qualifying for the Attendance Allowance does not depend on a person’s income or savings but is dependent on 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
The form can be obtained by phoning 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 you have and what care and supervision you need and for how long. Don’t leave things out, even if you feel you can manage well enough.
Completing the Form
What you should write about on the form
THE DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) will use your form to decide whether to give you Attendance Allowance.
They will be looking to see :
What difficulties you have, or how much help you need, eg., 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 you need.
You do not have to be receiving help at the moment – the important thing is that you need it. For example, you might need to hold on to furniture to move around your home.
How to answer questions about personal tasks
Questions 27-43 ask about your care needs with personal tasks. Do not leave things out, even if you feel that you can manage well enough. It is really important that you use the blank boxes to explain if you :
have difficulty or need someone to help you withpersonal tasks, for example washing, getting out of bed, or getting dressed - at least 3 times during the day.
have difficulty or needs omeone to supervise you throughout the day to make sure you stay safe - for example, to stop you falling or to look after you if you have seizures or blackouts.
have difficulty or need someone to help you with personal tasks repeatedly (2 or more times) during the night or just once if it’s for 20 minutes or more - for example, if you need help getting out of bed, going to the toilet, or changing the sheets if you have an accident.
need someone to watch over you or supervise you during the night to make sure you are safe- they need to help you at least 3 times, or just once if it’s for 20 minutes or more, for example, in case you have a fit while you’re asleep, or to stop you falling over if you have to get up.
Contact the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) on the Pension Credit helpline, 0800 991234 to apply. It is worth making a new claim every year. Benefits rates change annually, as can your finances.
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction
If you are renting, your household is on a low income and your savings are less than £16,000, you may be entitled to some Housing Benefit to help pay your rent and some reduction of your Council Tax. Contact Buckinghamshire Council on 01494 412227 to ask for help with filling in the form. They can visit you at home. Otherwise, you can apply online on their website (buckinghamshire.gov.uk/council-tax/).
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 severely 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 (01494 412226, help key 6) and get a GP certificate.