Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance can be claimed quickly under special rules if you are terminally ill and are not already receiving one of these benefits. Note: this leaflet gives a brief summary of benefits for the terminally ill and is for guidance only. It does not cover all situations, nor is it a full statement of the law. Sources of further, more detailed information are given at the end.
What are Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance?
- Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit if you are aged 65 or over and you need a lot of looking after.
- Disability Living Allowance is a tax-free benefit for people under 65, including children, who have care needs or problems with getting about.
- Employment and Support Allowance is a benefit if you are under 65, and have problems working because of an illness or disability.
What is meant by terminally ill?
The definition used by the Department for Work and Pensions when they assess a claim under the special rules, is that a person is suffering from a progressive disease, and their death can be reasonably expected within six months.
What are the special rules?
Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance are benefits paid to people who are in need of care. Under normal rules a person has to have needed care for a certain length of time before they can get these benefits. Under the special rules there is no such qualifying period. Under the special rules the person does not have to prove how much care they need. This means there is much less information that the person has to enter on the claim form. Claims made under the special rules are given priority treatment.
The other rules for Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance will still apply. For example, payments of these benefits are affected if you are in an NHS hospital for four weeks or more, or if you are looked after in a care home for four weeks or more which is paid for by the state. People who are terminally do not need to have a medical examination if they are claiming Employment and Support Allowance.
Who can make the claim under the special rules?
The claim can be made if the claimant is terminally ill. The claim can be made either by the person who is ill or by someone acting on their behalf. If the claim is made on behalf of the ill person, it is not necessary for the ill person to sign the form. This may be appropriate where a person has not been told the full nature of their condition. However, even if the claim has been made by another person, the ill person will be notified that a claim has been made for Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance. But, they will not be told that the claim has been made under the special rules.
How do you claim?
Claims should be made on the Disability Living Allowance (people under 65), Attendance Allowance (people over 65) and Employment and Support Allowance (people under 65) claim forms. To get a claim form you can:
- Telephone the Benefit Enquiry Line (details below) to request a form.
- Or go to the website of Directgov (details below), a government site where you can download a claim form.
- Or, if you live in Northern Ireland, you can go to the website of the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland (details below) which has a claim form online.
What medical evidence is needed?
A short medical report about the ill person's condition must be sent in with the claim forms for Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance. This report is called DS1500. The ill person or their representative should ask their doctor or specialist for a DS1500 report. The DS1500 report will be based upon what is currently known about the ill person's condition.
It is not necessary to see the doctor to obtain the report. A nurse or doctor's receptionist can be asked to arrange for the report to be issued.
How much is the benefit?
See the separate leaflets called Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance for details.
How is the benefit paid?
Payment is usually made directly to the ill person. However, if the person is unable to act for themselves, another person can be appointed to act for them and receive payment. Payment is usually made directly into a bank account, building society account, Post Office account, or National Savings account.
A note for carers
If you care for someone who is claiming, or is intending to claim for Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Employment Support and Allowance because of terminal illness, you are likely to be entitled to Carer's Allowance. You may wish to consider claiming for this at the same time. See separate leaflet called Carer's Allowance for more details.
Also, consider asking advice from one of the sources listed below about all your benefit entitlements.
Further information, help and advice
Directgov provides information from across UK governmental departments on topics ranging from travel safety and parental leave, to special educational needs, local NHS services, and benefits. The site also brings together an increasing number of online governmental services - including being able to download and/or complete certain benefit claim forms online.
Department for Work and Pensions
Their website provides a list of claim forms that you can download or fill in online for benefits, allowances, pensions, etc - www.dwp.gov.uk/eservice/
Contact details of their local offices (Jobcentre Plus offices and other 'social security' offices) can usually be found in the phone book under 'Jobcentre Plus'.
Or, find out about local offices and much more from the website www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk
Disability and Carers Service
This is part of the Department for Social Development for people living in Northern Ireland. Telephone:
- Disability Living Allowance: 028 9090 6182
- Attendance Allowance: 028 9090 6178
- Carers Allowance: 028 9090 6186
Textphone: 0800 243 787
Benefit Enquiry Line (BEL)
England, Wales and Scotland - Tel: 0800 88 22 00 Textphone: 0800 24 33 55 Northern Ireland - Tel: 0800 220 674 Textphone: 0800 243 787 For people with disabilities, their carers and representatives. It is part of the Department for Work and Pensions. BEL offers confidential advice and information on benefits and how to claim them. In addition they can also send out an extensive range of leaflets and claim packs, and help you to complete a claim form over the phone.
Citizens Advice Bureau
Provides independent advice on many issues, including benefits. Listed in the phone book under 'Citizens Advice Bureaux'. Also, see their excellent website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Further reading & references
- Caring for someone who is terminally ill, Directgov
|Original Author: Dr Tim Kenny||Current Version: Hilary Cole||Peer Reviewer: Ros Jones|
|Last Checked: 14/06/2012||Document ID: 4470 Version: 41||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.