Potential devolution of Attendance Allowance: impact on carers

Attendance Allowance is a vital benefit that helps people aged 65 or over with the extra costs of long-term illness or disability. It is also a ‘gateway’ benefit allowing eligible carers, who provide care for over 35 hours a week, to claim Carer’s Allowance. The Government is consulting on whether it should transfer responsibility for Attendance Allowance from the Department of Work and Pensions to individual local authorities in England.

We have concerns about the possible consequences of this proposal.  Currently, Attendance Allowance is a national entitlement. This means that demand for Attendance Allowance is matched by funding. Under the new proposals, local authorities could have a fixed budget and local responsibility for funding the demand – which we know is growing with our increasingly ageing population. This local responsibility and freedom over how to use funds could lead to a postcode lottery. Local authorities could be given the freedom to set their own eligibility criteria for Attendance Allowance.

We have strong concerns that moving from a demand led benefit reflecting the needs of our ageing population to a non-ring-fenced fixed budget for the local authority will mean that older people and carers lose out in future.

If you think that Attendance Allowance should stay as it is, there is draft text on our website that you can copy and paste and send to your MP.  If you have personal experience of receiving Attendance Allowance or you care for someone who receives Attendance Allowance, make sure you include information about why this issue matters to you.

Potential devolution of Attendance Allowance: impact on carers by Carers UK.

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