Thousands of pensioners underpaid Attendance Allowance – have you been affected?

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Attendance Allowance: Age UK helps man claim benefit

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Many pensioners will be entitled to, and claiming, Attendance Allowance, an important payment for thousands above state pension age. Attendance Allowance is intended to help individuals with a condition or disability severe enough that they need assistance or supervision.

However, a new report has found some Attendance Allowance claimants are being underpaid their sum.

The National Audit Office (NAO) found the estimated rate of underpayment in Attendance Allowance is 4.3 percent.

This is equivalent to approximately £230million of the benefit which eligible individuals have not received.

Overpayment for Attendance Allowance was recorded at 2.2 percent, or £120million.

The watchdog stated the estimates show Attendance Allowance has the highest rate of underpayment of all benefits sampled in its annual Fraud and Error exercise for 2021/22.

The DWP told it had not previously measured Attendance Allowance for fraud and error prior to 2021/22.

Instead, it opted to apply a so-called proxy rate based on other benefits.

The Department also explained the reasons why underpayments occurred in an attempt to allay the fears of those who believe they may be getting less than they are due, as well as tackling the issue of overpayments.

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It was stated just over 80 percent of all overpayment expenditure is attributed to claimants either being in hospital, or residing within a Registered Care Home funded by the local authority.

These individuals failed to notify the DWP of a change in their circumstances, hence the recorded difference.

The DWP’s Annual Report added: “Most – 97 percent – Attendance Allowance underpayments are a result of change in Functional Needs.

“This is where a claimant’s health has deteriorated such that, they are due higher rate, but the change has gone unreported.”

Attendance Allowance can be vital for those with additional health and ability needs once they exceed state pension age.

It is paid at two different rates, and how much someone gets depends on the level of care they require because of their condition.

The lower rate is £61.85 per week, for those who need frequent help or constant supervision during the dat, or supervision at night.

The higher rate is £92.40 weekly, for individuals requiring help or supervision throughout both day and night.

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As highlighted by the Department, if one’s circumstances change, they could be entitled to a different rate of payment.

However, this must be reported in order for the change to take place.

To apply for Attendance Allowance, Britons must use the designated claim form and send it off via post to Freepost DWP Attendance Allowance.

The form also comes with notes telling individuals how to fill it in. 

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