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If you have poor eyesight you could be due benefit worth up to £434 a month

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THOUSANDS of people with poor eyesight could be due a benefit worth up to £434 a month.

Those who need help at home due to a disability or illness can claim Attendance Allowance (AA).

Attendance Allowance is for people over State Pension age who need help due to their disability or illness

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Attendance Allowance is for people over State Pension age who need help due to their disability or illnessCredit: Getty
The Department for Work and Pensions pays AA at two different rates

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The Department for Work and Pensions pays AA at two different ratesCredit: Alamy

This benefit helps you cover extra costs if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you.

AA is paid at two different rates – £72.65 or £108.55 a week  – and the amount you’ll get depends on the level of care you need because of your disability.

The lower rate is for those who need frequent help or constant supervision during the day, or supervision at night.

The higher rate applies if you need help or supervision throughout both day and night.

If you get the higher rate of AA, you could get an extra £434 per month.

With the lower rate, you would get £290 per month.

The government website says you can get AA more quickly and at the higher rate if doctors said you might have 12 months or less to live.

The benefit is for people who have reached State Pension age and have a physical disability, including blindness or other sight conditions, a mental disability, including learning difficulties, or both.

However, AA doesn’t cover mobility needs.

All the freebies you can get on Universal Credit

You’re eligible for AA if you need help caring for yourself or someone to supervise you due to your disability.

One of the conditions is that you must have needed that help for at least six months.

You could also get extra Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction if you get AA.

Older people claiming AA for sight loss conditions include 48,695 people who were claiming either £68.10 or £101.75 a week in November 2023 for a ‘Visual Disorder or Disease’.

There are over 45 eye conditions affecting adults across the country, including cataracts, myopia, macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Bear in mind that AA is only for people over State Pension age, which currently is 66 years old for both men and women.

If you have a sight condition and are under State Pension age, you could apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Adult Disability Payment (ADP) instead.

How to claim Attendance Allowance

You can apply for Attendance Allowance online or by post.

To apply, you’ll need:

  • your National Insurance number
  • your address and contact details
  • details of the health condition or disability that you need extra help for
  • details of your GP surgery or medical centre

After submitting your claim, you’ll receive a text or a letter within three weeks that explains when you can expect a decision.

If you’re awarded AA, the decision letter will explain when you can expect your first payment.

Claims start on the day you submit them if doing so online.

If you apply by post, the claim will start on the date the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) receives it.

If you call the helpline to get a form, your claim will start on the date of your call, as long as you return the form within six weeks.

Those who have 12 months or less to leave can’t apply online but need to complete a form.

They also need to ask their doctor for form SR1, which they will either fill in and give the patient, or send directly to the DWP.

If you struggle to fill in the claim form, you can ask for help at your nearest Citizens Advice branch.

Are you missing out on benefits?

YOU can use a benefits calculator to help check that you are not missing out on money you are entitled to

Charity Turn2Us’ benefits calculator works out what you could get.

Entitledto’s free calculator determines whether you qualify for various benefits, tax credit and Universal Credit.

MoneySavingExpert.com and charity StepChange both have benefits tools powered by Entitledto’s data.

You can use Policy in Practice’s calculator to determine which benefits you could receive and how much cash you’ll have left over each month after paying for housing costs.

Your exact entitlement will only be clear when you make a claim, but calculators can indicate what you might be eligible for.

Attendance Allowance isn’t means-tested so you can claim it even if you have other money you have coming in or in your savings.

It is tax-free and you’ll be exempt from the Benefit Cap, meaning you won’t have money taken away from any other benefits.

However, you can’t apply for AA if you already get PIP or DLA to pay for your care. 

If you’re getting DLA and apply for AA, the DWP will reassess your DLA.

All the details on the benefits you could be eligible for, and how to apply, are on the government’s official website.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing money-sm@news.co.uk.

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