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Pensions & benefits advice

Anyone need help with applications for PIP, DLA, AA ?

(28 Posts)
Pammie1 Mon 08-Nov-21 23:26:01

I have some years of experience assisting with form filling for the above disability benefits and would be happy to offer help if anyone needs it.

grannyactivist Mon 08-Nov-21 23:35:09

Pammie1 that is a truly kind offer. flowers

I do a lot of form filling on behalf of my clients and I was never more glad than when I found an experienced volunteer willing to share the load with me.

MissAdventure Mon 08-Nov-21 23:57:12

It really is a kind offer!
They're such daunting forms.
I would recommend anyone considering tackling one takes up this opportunity for some help.

annsixty Tue 09-Nov-21 01:42:04

This is Gransnet at it’s best.
Your offer is very kind and helpful.
Thank you for it.

Pantglas2 Tue 09-Nov-21 05:18:37

Gosh Pammie, wish I’d known you earlier! I struggled through DH’s Attendance Allowance form a few years ago whilst he was awaiting second hip op and my own Carer’s Allowance once!

Got both awards which were a boon, especially mine, as it meant two years NI credits for my pension which saved me around £1500 in top ups.

What a kind and generous person you are 🎖and hope you’re not overly inundated with work that it becomes a chore 😉

Pammie1 Tue 09-Nov-21 07:49:17

@grannyactivist. Let me know if I can help.

Pammie1 Tue 09-Nov-21 08:19:32

To get the ball rolling some general information on completing Attendance Allowance applications - copied and pasted one of my posts from a similar thread. It was mainly answering queries on how to apply for someone with dementia, but covers physical conditions too. Hope it’s helpful.

Firstly remember that with AA, the person needs to have reached state pension age to claim it - working age people claim PIP. The ‘need’ for attendance also has to have been present for at least six months before making the claim. AA is assessed on the ‘need’ for attendance, not actually being in receipt of it. It basically does the same job as the PIP /DLA daily living rates in providing financial support for extra disability related costs - although PIP is for working age people (16-66) and DLA is now only paid to those under 16, and the assessment criteria are different to AA.

Unlike PIP/DLA there is no mobility component to AA. It’s also important to point out that unlike DLA/PIP, AA pays the different rates of benefit according to whether you need help during the day OR night, or during the day AND night. Consideration is given to how much help is needed and the frequency.

When completing the forms for AA consideration needs to be given to how the person is on their worst days. There are no trick questions - they are designed to try to get a full picture of how the condition affects the applicant, whether it fluctuates and for what proportion of the day or night help/supervision is needed. I can’t stress enough the need to check and recheck the form to make sure there are no contradictions and that the information is clear - always a good idea to do a dummy run before completing the actual form.

Consider the length of time it takes to complete each of the activities asked about on the form and whether/how much pain is experienced. Consider whether painkillers are required before, during or after the activity and whether the person needs to rest during or after the activity. Be specific about what help is needed, why and for how long - whether it’s for the entire activity or just part of it, and whether the help is needed by day, night or both.

You also need to consider things like safety - if no actual physical help is needed, but the person needs supervision to stay safe, this also counts. For example if someone has dementia and cannot be left alone, the supervision needs are 24/7, so the higher rate will usually be payable if the decision maker agrees. But you have to make your case. For someone with a physical disability, safety considerations will also be taken into account so it’s important to be clear about any supervision required, the reason it’s necessary and the frequency and duration.

As an example take washing, bathing and dressing. Someone with a physical disability may take much longer to complete these tasks than someone without that condition - limited mobility may necessitate help in and out of the bath/shower, getting dressed etc. The person may need to stop to rest during or after the activity or may not be able to do it at all until painkillers have taken effect. The person may not need actual help, but still need someone to be present in case of accidents or difficulty. This is supervision on safety grounds and it counts, but the reason it’s necessary needs to be clear - the person may be drowsy because of painkillers or unsteady on their feet, which can be dangerous in a bathroom setting. Again, say why it’s needed, how often and for how long each time.

For applicants with the various types of dementia or cognitive disorders, as the condition advances additional support may be needed with day to day living. Consider things from a different perspective - the person may not require hands on help with bathing, but may no longer recognise the need to bathe regularly, so encouragement may be needed to motivate them. A person with dementia may be able to dress themselves but can they choose appropriate clothing for things like the weather or different activities ? Can they tell when they need to change clothing for cleanliness, or change for bed ? They may be able to prepare food, but do they recognise that they are hungry in order to motivate them to do so, or do they need prompting and reminding ? Can they manage medication and what would be the consequences of forgetting to take tablets or taking too many ? Do medications such as painkillers need to be taken at night ?

Continence issues affect a wide range of disabilities and it’s one of the areas where people under report because of embarrassment and end up with a lower award. It’s important to be clear on the extent of the problem/help needed and be honest about the severity and frequency of the incontinence. This can range from whether the person has simple, occasional or regular incontinence requiring some help to manage, or has little or no voluntary control and requires frequent help with changing/bathing after accidents or using padding. Also be clear about whether this happens by day, night or both, and whether help is needed to change bedding. Does someone need to be available by day or need to be awake at night to help the person stay safe or to help with/supervise visits to the toilet?

AA does not consider things like the ability to do housework and does not address mobility issues. Once AA is in payment, the Pension Income Guarantee (Pension Credit) rate increases in line with the rate of AA paid, so even if the person didn’t qualify for pension credit before receiving AA, they may do so once they are in receipt of it - the DWP Pensions Service usually check eligibility when they’re alerted to a new AA, but I would advise checking eligibility yourself just to make sure things have been linked.

In cases of terminal illness, AA can be fast tracked. The eligibility at present is that the applicant has to be in the last six months of life expectancy, however that’s under review and set to increase to twelve months. The process can be speeded up with a DS1500 form from a consultant or GP.

Once AA has been awarded, carers allowance can be paid to someone over the age of 16, who looks after the disabled person for 35 hours per week or more. The carers allowance is taxable, but cannot be paid to someone who earns more than £128 per week (occupational pensions are not counted as income) or is on any other income replacement benefit which pays more than the rate of carers allowance - PIP, DLA and AA are not income replacement benefits so are disregarded, but things like state pension, UC and ESA are. However, if your state pension or other income replacement benefit is is less than carers allowance (currently £67.60 per week), you can get a top up for the difference. For example, if your state pension/other benefit is £50 per week you can get £17.60 per week in carers allowance

If your state pension or other income replacement benefit is more than carers allowance it might still be worth making a claim, as you can still get an 'underlying entitlement' - in other words you meet the conditions for carers allowance but it can’t be paid because it ‘overlaps’ with other benefits. If this is the case for you, it can actually increase any means-tested benefits you are currently getting, or it could mean that you become entitled to means-tested benefits for the first time (depending on your and any partner's income and capital). This is because having the 'underlying entitlement' means that an amount called the ‘carer addition’ will be included when working out whether you are entitled to other means-tested benefits. Hope that’s clear.

travelsafar Tue 09-Nov-21 08:34:23

Pammie1 no wonder there is a need for people like you to help others complete AA forms!!!! Could you imagine a harrassed daughter or son trying to complete the form alone as i am sure their parent would not be able too.

Just reading what you have wrote is enough to put a lot of people off, including myself. Well done for offering to help others smile

Pammie1 Tue 09-Nov-21 08:38:42

@travelsafar. Please don’t be put off - there is a staggering amount of benefit which goes unclaimed simply due to people not being able to cope with the forms. You can private message me if you need any help and I’ll do what I can.

PippaZ Tue 09-Nov-21 11:12:41

I was that harrassed (and extremely over-anxious) by the point of filling in these forms travelsafar and I can only agree with annsixty that this is GN at it's best. Thank you Pammie1 - that's brillian. My daughter is a carer for another family member. I think they may be entitled to the higher level of AA - they are on the lower one. There is a lot of help in there for her - so I will pass it on.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed from their own experience too.

MissAdventure Tue 09-Nov-21 11:22:23

I hope nobody minds if I add that for mobility questions, using something like a sturdy shopping trolley to lean on can be counted as using an 'aid'.
Lots of people have already adapted everyday things to help them, and don't realise they count.

Pammie1 Tue 09-Nov-21 16:19:24

@MissAdventure. Attendance Allowance does not have a mobility component - you’re thinking of DLA and PIP which are working age benefits. AA is for those people who have reached state pension age.

MissAdventure Tue 09-Nov-21 16:22:42

The thread is about PIP too though, isn't it?

Pammie1 Wed 10-Nov-21 09:27:26

@MissAdventure. Yes, it will be, but it’s important not to confuse the three main disability extra cost support benefits as they are very different. The post on AA seems to be helping some people so I’m just in the middle of posting information on DLA. DLA is in the process of being phased out - the only people left claiming DLA at present, in it’s original form, are those who were claiming DLA and were over the cut off age when PIP was introduced. These people will now be at state pension age and still claiming DLA. This is where the confusion lies because there are no new claims allowed for the claimants in this group - if they lost entitlement to DLA on reassessment, they have to claim AA which doesn’t attract a mobility component so they lose quite a lot of money and entitlement to the Motability scheme. The only other area where new DLA claims can be made are for the under 16’s who are migrated to PIP once they reach 16. The Daily Living component of DLA is more or less the same as that for AA, and I’m trying to explain the mobility component of it accurately before I post. I will be posting info on PIP, but this is a lot more complex as it’s classed as working age benefit. The eligibility criteria for assessing both the Daily Living and Mobility components of PIP are completely different to the components of AA and DLA and a lot more stringent. I wasn’t criticising your post by the way, as what you’re saying is very relevant to the DLA assessment - I was just pointing out that AA doesn’t carry a mobility component, to avoid confusion.

FannyCornforth Wed 10-Nov-21 10:02:14

Hello Pammie, thank you for your wealth of information! thanks
I have been receiving PIP for around nine months. I actually found the process straight forward, I was dreading it as you hear such horror stories about it.
I have started the application process for ESA (which I have only recently realised existed).
Is there anything that I should be aware of please?
They have told me that the next step is a phone call to discuss my health conditions.
Thank you again smile

FannyCornforth Wed 10-Nov-21 10:03:40

Sorry - should I start a new thread about ESA? Would that make more sense?

Pammie1 Wed 10-Nov-21 10:09:00

This post covers DLA - disability living allowance.

The eligibility criteria for the daily living component are the same as for AA - attendance allowance, and are detailed in my previous post on this thread.

This post will detail the mobility criteria of DLA, but it’s important to point out before I go any further, that DLA can now only be claimed by those aged under 16 and this is now referred to as ‘Child DLA’. Therefore this post is only concerned with those people who are still claiming DLA because they were aged 65 or over when PIP (personal independence payment) was introduced to replace DLA

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) started to replace DLA on April 2013. DLA claimants aged 65 or over on that date were not migrated onto PIP, and those DLA claims will continue until due for reassessment. If the claimant still qualifies at reassessment, DLA will continue, if not, the claim will end and you will be advised to claim AA - attendance allowance. There is no right of appeal as there is no facility for new DLA claims beyond the age of 16 - PIP is the replacement benefit for age 16 and over, and AA (attendance allowance) is the replacement benefit for those in receipt of state pension.

The mobility component of AA is awarded when the disability - physical or mental - is severe enough for you to have any of the following walking difficulties, even when wearing or using an aid or equipment you normally use:

Because of a physical disability, you are unable or virtually unable to walk without severe discomfort, or at risk of endangering your life or causing deterioration in your health by making the effort to walk

You have no feet or legs

You are assessed to be both 100 per cent disabled because of loss of eyesight and not less than 80 per cent disabled because of deafness and you need someone with you when you are out of doors

You are severely mentally impaired with severe behavioural problems and qualify for the highest rate of care component

You need guidance or supervision most of the time from another person when walking out of doors in unfamiliar places

You are certified as severely sight impaired by a consultant ophthalmologist, and you were aged between 3 and 64 on 11 April 2011.

There are two rates of the mobility component depending on how your disability affects you - the lower rate is payable if you need guidance or supervision out of doors. Higher rate is payable if you have any of the other, more severe, walking difficulties.

The DWP use 50 metres as a guide to a maximum mobilising distance for the higher rate, but decision makers have a lot more discretion to make higher awards than for PIP, which is tightly controlled by a points system.

These are the criteria you will be held to if renewing a DLA claim if you are in receipt of State Pension. As with other benefits, it’s important to state your disability, the effect it has on your ability and the distance you can walk. It’s also important to tell the DWP how long it takes you to walk a certain distance, what aids you use and why, whether you experience pain or breathlessness during or after walking AND whether it impacts on your ability to do other things - in other words after walking for example, 50 metres, would you be tired or in pain to the extent where you couldn’t do anything else without resting first. Say how you walk - does the manner in which you walk impact on your own health and safety or that of others ? In other words, will walking aggravate a health condition and make it worse, do you walk in an unsafe or ungainly manner which puts you in danger or affects others.

You also need to highlight any safety issues - if you would get lost, or wander off without supervision this will count, as will the need for guidance and supervision for physical conditions. You just need to think about how your disability affects you and be accurate about how this impacts on your walking ability. Remember they are not just looking at your disability, they are looking at how it affects your ability to move around.

Hope this helps.

Pammie1 Wed 10-Nov-21 10:10:49

@FannyCornforth. A bit difficult to advise without knowing your condition. If you feel more comfortable discussing it in private, you can message me with a quick outline of how your condition affects you and I’ll message you back.

Pammie1 Wed 10-Nov-21 10:12:57

FannyCornforth

Sorry - should I start a new thread about ESA? Would that make more sense?

No, it’s fine - as long as you remember that ESA doesn’t assess how your disability affects daily living or mobility, it’s purely to assess your ability to work.

henetha Wed 10-Nov-21 10:13:10

I appreciate this, Pammiel. You have answered a question which I had been pondering about for ages.
You say "AA does not consider the ability to do things like housework".
Although I'm 84 I am I good health apart from a chronically bad back. I am already paying a gardener, and could really do with a cleaner now. Obviously this doesn't qualify me for AA so I won't bother claiming. At least I know now. smile
Thank you.

Pammie1 Wed 10-Nov-21 10:18:29

@henetha. If you have a bad back and it impacts on your ability to do the things they assess for - such as washing and dressing yourself etc, - I would still apply. You have nothing to lose and you may qualify for the lower rate. Don’t be put off.

henetha Wed 10-Nov-21 10:39:18

Thank you Pammiel. I can wash and dress myself ok. Just slight difficulties but nothing much. I anticipate it getting more difficult though, so it might be worth a try. I can only do housework in ten minute bursts and then have to lie down or take another pain killer. (I'm forever trying not to take too many painkillers).

Cabbie21 Wed 10-Nov-21 13:29:14

Well done Pammiel for this useful information.
There is comprehensive advice about completing PIP and other forms on the Citizens Advice website too.
I help complete these forms and also challenge decisions. If anyone feels the decision is wrong, there is a time limit of one month to challenge it, normally, so do ask for help to do so in good time. Not all decisions are changed at the first stage, which is called a Mandatory Reconsideration, but it is a necessary stage before you can take it to appeal at Tribunal, where the success rate is high.

jenpax Wed 10-Nov-21 13:41:13

Thats a lovely offer. We have one dedicated volunteer form filler in my charities office but all the volunteers are trained to fill these in however there are always more people needing help than we can accommodate. My own back ground is as a social welfare lawyer and I know how important getting the right advice can be!
Please remember too that Age concern and Citizens Advice will both help with benefit forms not only AA but PIP and carers too for example. Also adviceguide (citizens advice) have loads of helpful advice on this snd many other topics

annodomini Wed 10-Nov-21 14:56:23

That was a kind thought, Pammiel. I was a CAB adviser, until about eleven years ago and lots of new benefits were being introduced. That was when I gave up. Old dogs...new tricks! It had been infinitely rewarding helping clients who needed a benefit for which they were clearly qualified but hadn't a clue how to approach those scary forms.