Disability and mobility benefits for people living with dementia
If you’re living with dementia, you may be entitled to a disability or mobility benefit. These include Attendance allowance, PIP and Disability living allowance.
What are disability and mobility benefits?
Disability or mobility benefits can provide extra help to manage the practical effects of a disability, such as needing help with personal care or supervision to stay safe during the day or night.
- Attendance allowance (AA)
- Personal independence payment (PIP)
- Disability living allowance (DLA).
These benefits are not means-tested (payment is not affected by your savings or income). They are tax-free and do not depend on National insurance contributions.
Disability benefits are paid at different rates depending on your needs. They can be claimed whether or not you work, and whether you live alone or with other people. For some benefits a medical assessment may be required.
2022/23 rates for disability and mobility benefits
Click on the plus icons below to see the current rates.
- Higher rate: £101.75 weekly
- Lower rate: £68.10 weekly
Personal independence payment (PIP) has replaced Disability living allowance (DLA) for all new claims after June 2013.
Daily living component
- Enhanced rate: £101.75 weekly
- Standard rate: £68.10 weekly
- Enhanced rate: £71.00 weekly
- Standard rate: £26.90 weekly
Personal care component
- Higher rate: £101.75 weekly
- Middle rate: £68.10 weekly
- Lower rate: £26.90 weekly
- Higher rate: £71.00 weekly
- Lower rate: £26.90 weekly
Can I get disability or mobility benefits if I have dementia?
If you’re living with dementia, you may be entitled to these benefits.
However, people with dementia don’t automatically qualify for them. Assessments are required to understand a person’s individual needs.
Which disability or mobility benefit should I claim?
Until November 2018, PIP was for people aged 16–64 and AA was for those aged 65 or over. However, the age limits are now linked to each person’s own pension age, which is increasing in stages to 67 by the year 2028.
- If your care needs started after you reached pension age, or you have not made a claim until then, you should claim AA. Eligibility is based on whether you need help or supervision from another person in the day or night. AA doesn’t cover mobility needs (moving around).
- If you have care or mobility needs and are under your pension age, you should claim PIP instead. You must be under pension age when you make your first claim.
- PIP is the new benefit that replaced DLA for people over 16 – no new claims for DLA for adults have been accepted since June 2013.
It’s important to ask for advice if you are already claiming one of these benefits and your needs change.
If you or the person you care for go into a care home or hospital, temporarily or permanently, you should ask the DWP about how your AA, PIP, DLA or Carer’s allowance might be affected.
Can I claim Attendance allowance (AA)?
Attendance allowance can be claimed by someone who has a disability, is over the pension age and needs supervision or help with personal care.
Personal care needs might include support with activities such as:
- going to the toilet
- turning over or settling in bed
- taking medication
- avoiding danger
- doing social activities.
If you are over pension age and the DWP considers that you have a disabling condition (which may include dementia), you may qualify for AA at either a lower or higher rate.
To claim this rate, you must meet one of the following conditions relating to your needs:
- Needs during the day:
- needing frequent attention in relation to bodily functions (such as washing, going to the toilet, eating or taking medication)
- needing continual supervision to avoid harm to yourself or others
- Needs at night:
- needing prolonged or repeated attention
- if another person needs to be awake for a prolonged period or at frequent intervals to watch over you to avoid putting yourself or others in danger
To claim this rate, you must have one of the day needs as well as one of the night needs.
You normally need to have met these conditions for six months before applying. However, if you’ve been told by the doctor you probably have 12 months or less to live then there’s no qualifying period and you get the highest rate automatically.
Can I claim Personal independence payment (PIP)?
PIP has two parts: a ‘daily living’ part and a ‘mobility’ part. Depending on your situation, you may qualify for either or both parts if you are under pension age.
Daily living component
You may be entitled to the daily living part of PIP if your ability to carry out daily activities is limited. There are two rates:
- standard rate – if you have a limited ability to carry out daily living activities safely
- enhanced rate – if you have a severely limited ability to carry out daily living activities safely.
It also considers whether you can carry out daily living activities when you need to, without taking too long and reasonably successfully, and whether you need aids to help you with these.
You may be entitled to the mobility part of PIP if you have difficulties going out and moving around safely. There are two rates:
- standard rate – if you have limited mobility, such as difficulties with walking. This can also include the ability to plan a journey or manage it without support
- enhanced rate – if you have severely limited mobility (as above).
Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to both parts of PIP, or just one part.
How can I claim PIP?
Step 1 – make the initial claim
The initial claim for PIP is made by telephone, or in writing by completing a PIP1 form. This is to start the process and ensure that you are eligible to apply.
Step 2 – complete the PIP2 form
Once the initial claim has been successfully made, the DWP will send you form PIP2 (‘How your disability affects you’). This includes questions about how your condition affects your day-to-day life. It’s important to include as much relevant information as possible, to give the DWP a clear idea of the tasks you find difficult and what support you need.
Step 3 – return the PIP2 form
This form must be returned within one month, though exceptions may be made in some cases – contact the DWP for more information or to ask for an extension.
Step 4 – attend a PIP medical assessment
Most people will be asked to attend a PIP medical assessment. This could be carried out face-to-face or another way, such as over the phone.
The assessment (both on the PIP2 form or in person) is based on questions about particular activities and the difficulties you have with them. It’s a good idea to take someone with you to the medical assessment if possible.
You should also include information on any aids you may use to help you, such as grab rails, walking sticks or modified cutlery. Even if they aren’t special disability aids, they could still be relevant. If appropriate you could bring them to the medical assessment.
Can I claim Disability living allowance (DLA)?
This benefit is being replaced by PIP for people over 16:
- If you were born after 8 April 1948 and already receive DLA, you will be reassessed for PIP at some point. You don’t need to do anything to start a claim for PIP if you are already getting DLA – the DWP will send you an invitation to claim. However, if you don’t respond to this invitation, your DLA will be stopped.
- If you were born on or before 8 April 1948 and claimed DLA before you were 65, you will not need to change to PIP. You will remain on DLA as long as you continue to meet the eligibility criteria.
Filling in claim forms for AA and PIP
The claim forms for AA and PIP are long and very detailed. They include questions about the activities that you find difficult or impossible to carry out, and about your need for care and supervision.
Here are some tips for completing claim forms:
- When answering questions about your needs, think about the days when you need more help as well as days when you don’t need as much.
- It will help your claim if you can provide supporting evidence such as information about medication, care plans or medical reports from your doctor.
- If your condition varies over time, it may be useful to keep a diary of symptoms and needs over a few weeks to include with your claim.
- It’s very important to get advice on filling in the form to make sure you provide all the information that is needed. Contact an organisation such as Citizens Advice or Age UK for help.
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