Could Attendance Allowance be capped?

Could Attendance Allowance be capped?Plans to transfer funding for Attendance Allowance to local authorities could result in this important benefit being capped in the future.

Attendance Allowance is designed to help pay for your personal care.

It is available if you are over 65 and you are physically or mentally disabled.

Attendance Allowance is currently paid at two rates, depending on how much care you need due to your disability.

The lower rate of £55.10 a week is available if you need care either during the day or night. The higher rate of £82.30 a week is paid if you require care both day and night.

Last year, plans were brought forward to transfer the budget for Attendance Allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions to local authorities.

This transfer of a £5bn budget for social care is part of a package of measures designed to address major funding problems in the adult social care sector.

However, critics of the proposals believe it could result in Attendance Allowance being restricted or capped in the future.

If the budget is absorbed into councils’ general funding pot, Attendance Allowance could be restricted in the same way local authorities have already been forced to tighten their criteria for social care eligibility.

According to a spokesperson at the Department for Work and Pensions:

“The current systems of care and support for older people are fragmented and often confusing.

“That’s why we will consult on the option of devolving more responsibility to local authorities, who we believe are in a better position to know the needs of their local population.

“This is all with the aim of ensuring the best possible support for older people with care needs.”

It is worth noting that local government does not support this budget transfer proposal, raising concerns about the costs they would face to administer the payments of Attendance Allowance.

Carers UK joined critics of the proposals saying they could “create a lottery of support for older people and carers”.

We await the terms of a consultation on this issue, although understand any changes would not affect those already claiming Attendance Allowance.

Any changes to the Attendance Allowance regime would not come into force until April 2018.

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About Martin Bamford

Martin Bamford is a Chartered Financial Planner, Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professional and published personal finance author. He works with elderly clients to provide advice on funding residential care fees, hosts the Informed Choice Podcast and is a keen ultra runner.
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