Social Security Experience Panels: attendance allowance discovery

This report explores Experience Panel member views on claiming Attendance Allowance.

Finding out about Attendance Allowance

We wanted to understand where participants found out about Attendance Allowance.

Participants found out about Attendance Allowance from various places. Some were persuaded to apply for Attendance Allowance by family or friends:

'I was persudaded to apply to ease the pressure on family and friends who felt obliged to escort me when I was travelling outwith the immediate area of my home.'

Other participants were advised to apply by a doctor or support worker. This recommendation sometimes came following a hospital admission.

'My doctor advised me to apply initially. I had major surgery on my neck and was finding it very difficult to cope with everyday tasks. I needed supervision in case I fell or had problems dressing.'

Many participants did not know that Attendance Allowance existed, or that it was an option for their particular condition, until a professional signposted them to the benefit. This occasionally happened quite some time after the participant would have first been eligible to claim:

'I had to give up work to look after my dad full time and I did not know Attendance Allowance existed until five or six years later […] It was only when I registered with my local carer's center that they pointed it out.'

Others only became aware of Attendance Allowance through their experiences of voluntary work:

'I only knew the benefit existed as a volunteer with a local CAB at the time.'

Some participants felt that many people did not apply for Attendance Allowance because of limited awareness:

I think there must be a lot of people who do not claim this benefit because they do not know about it. GPs and other local health staff should be promoting it. Councils should be sending out information when a person receives a package of care.'

When asked how to increase awareness of Attendance Allowance, participants suggested:

  • Advertisements in GP surgeries, MSP offices and in hospitals;
  • Targeted engagement with third sector organisations such as charities or Citizen's Advice Bureau; and
  • Improved signposting through support networks.


A number of participants commented on the name of the benefit, feeling that it was inaccurate or didn't reflect what the benefit was for.

'The name suggests I need attending too. And often the person providing care feels they should be claiming for attending to the cared for person.'



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