Attendance allowance to be abolished?

The government is drawing up plans to abolish Attendance Allowance (AA). This is a benefit payable to people over the age of 65 who have care needs, including difficulties with everyday tasks such as dressing and washing. This money can make all the difference between living and existing.

We urge all UNISON West Sussex members to sign the 38° Petition against this plan.

Thanks to attendance allowance, older people with conditions like arthritis can pay for cleaners or someone to help with the shopping. It goes towards extra heating, or running a car. It’s not just about budgeting: they also gain some company from hiring help, and can pay for transport to get them out of the house.

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

“Devolving the budgets for future Attendance Allowance claimants locally, so that local authorities have flexibility over their own systems of support, threatens to create a lottery of support for older people and carers.”

“Given that Attendance Allowance is a gateway benefit to claiming Carer’s Allowance, we are extremely concerned that, in the future, carers will find it more difficult to access Carer’s Allowance – an absolutely vital source of income for those caring for older and disabled loved ones.”

“We urge the government to retain the current system which works well, is clear and relatively efficient. Attendance Allowance should not be seen as a way of shoring up the cash strapped adult social care departments.”

This is yet another swipe at the most vulnerable in our society, potentially depriving them of a quality of life that Attendance Allowance helps to provide. Decisions such as this potentially reinforce the disturbing research findings linking increased mortality rates to social care funding cuts. Changes are planned to affect claimants from 2018.