Benefits for people affected by dementia
This guide provides a simple introduction to benefits to which you and your carer may be entitled. These are entitlements and we would encourage you to claim.
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 £68.10 per week.
If help is needed in the daytime and night-time, it pays £101.75 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 need someone 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.
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. (You don’t have to live with them or be related to them.) It is currently £67.25 per week and is only available to individuals with earned income of no more than £128 per week (after deductions), or who receive state pension or other state benefits that are no more than £67.25 per week. You could also be eligible if you care for someone who receives the higher-rate or middle-rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, either rate of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) daily living component or Attendance Allowance.
If you think you won’t be eligible to claim Carer’s Allowance because you have some savings, don’t worry. Your savings and your National Insurance record won’t make a difference to your claim.
Once again AGE UK ADVICE LINE on 0800 678 1602, open 8am – 7pm 365 days a year, can help you. Some face-to-face support at local Age UK is available. Your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau can also help (see their details below).
After you submit your claim you will receive a decision in writing that will tell you if you have been awarded Carer’s Allowance and from what date. If the claim is turned down, read the information on Challenging a Benefits Decision.
Call 0800 731 0297 or Text 0800 731 0317 to claim or visit GOV.UK to download a claim form or complete the claim form online.
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/).
If you qualify as severely mentally impaired
If you have a severe mental impairment of intelligence or social functioning which appears to be permanent, for example Alzheimer’s or dementia, and you live alone then you do not have to pay Council Tax. This is known as disregarded.
[Note: Anyone living on their own is entitled to a Council Tax reduction of 25%.]
If you live with someone who is severely mentally impaired
You’ll get a 25% discount if you live with someone who qualifies as severely mentally impaired and there are no other adults in your household.
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.
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.
Under pension age
If you are not yet receiving your State Pension, your situation is more complicated from a benefit point of view, as it depends on factors such as your National insurance contributions and whether you are in receipt of benefits already.
For many people, the Personal Independence Allowance (PIP), which is like Attendance Allowance and does not depend on your financial situation, is the one to apply for. You claim this by phoning the DWP on 0800 0800 917 to ask for a claim form.
People ‘who experience non-physical (‘hidden’) disabilities that result in considerable difficulty whilst walking are now considered eligible to receive a Blue Badge’. A person with dementia may be entitled to a Blue Badge for the car in which he or she travels to be parked closer to their destination.
The eligibility was changed by the government in August 2019 to include people with unseen disabilities, like dementia.
How to apply:
You can apply online or by post. To apply online you will need a photograph and proof of identity e.g. copy of passport or driving licence or birth certificate, proof of your address and proof of your eligibility. The proof of eligibility can be found on the government website – www.gov.uk. If you do not receive one of the benefits that are listed (Attendance Allowance does not automatically make you eligible) you will be asked to provide details of –
Relevant medication, relevant treatments and the names of relevant healthcare professionals who have treated you.
To apply by post you can download an application form to apply for, renew or replace a Blue Badge by post at https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/parking-roads-and-transport/parking/blue-badge-for-disabled-parking/
Blue Badge holders are exempt from certain parking restrictions, including being allowed to park:
free of charge at on-street parking meters and in Pay and Display bays
on single or double yellow lines for up to 3 hours, except where there is a ban on loading or unloading.
You can find more information on the Alzheimers website – www.alzeimers.org.uk/blog/how-apply-blue-badge-person-dementia