Vicky McDermott, Chair of the Care and Support Alliance has responded to the planned government announcement on Attendance Allowance.
Ms McDermott explained, “Attendance Allowance is a lifeline for over a million over 65 year olds and helps them to live independently. In many cases, people who receive attendance allowance will not automatically be in receipt of social care.
“AA is a vital prevention measure that must be safeguarded. The government must provide assurances that those older disabled people with lower levels of need will continue to be in receipt of AA as this will prevent them needing higher level of support in the future.
“The decision to transfer the Attendance Allowance budget from the department for work and pensions to local councils is a decision we will have to study carefully when the detailed proposals are published today”.
Meanwhile in her role as CEO of disability charity Papworth Trust, Ms McDermott said;
“Papworth Trust believes that Attendance Allowance is a hugely effective fund to help prevent disabled older people from requiring higher level care needs. The Allowance is a lifeline which allows many of our older disabled customers the opportunity to live independently lives with low level practical support in their homes.
“Many of our older disabled people who are eligible for Attendance allowance are not eligible for social care. This is for good reason. Attendance Allowance is for early intervention and prevents disabled older people from requiring higher level social care needs. We would have significant concerns about a merger of social care and AA budgets as the applicants to these two funding streams have very different care needs.
“Monies that are currently allocated to disabled older people who are in receipt of Attendance Allowance must not be diverted into social care at the expense of these individuals. The government must not rob Peter to pay Paul. It would be counter-productive and more expensive in the longer term.
“Over the last five years a number of schemes which were vital lifelines to disabled older people have been cut. Papworth Trust will strongly oppose any changes to the Attendance Allowance that will dilute the positive impact it has for thousands of disabled older people in the East of England and we will be scrutinising the Government’s proposals carefully and responding to the planned consultation”.
At present, Attendance Allowance is given to people over the age of 65 who require small amounts of care support in their homes. It is often used by disabled older people who require a cleaner once a week, or need small adaptions made to their homes. It is a preventative measure to help older people from falling into the social care system.
The £5bn that is currently administered by the department for Work and Pensions will be transferred to the department for communities and local government meaning councils will handle the applications.