Independence Allowance

Forgotten Million

Research and new ideas on the future of Attendance Allowance.

Attendance Allowance is a weekly cash payment of £53 – £79, which is paid to 1.3 million older people with a disability in England.

In the context of pressure on the public finances and unmet need across the older population, the Strategic Society Centre undertook a major project of work on the future of Attendance Allowance in partnership with Independent Age, entitled ‘Independence Allowance’.

‘Independence Allowance’ comprises new research on Attendance Allowance recipients:

  • Attendance Allowance in England uses data from Wave 5 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), a nationally representative social survey of 10,274 people aged 50 and over in England, to provide new descriptive, trend and associational evidence on AA recipients;
  • Attendance Allowance on a Low Income comprises qualitative research based on individual interviews with members of the older people’s charity Independent Age who receive both means tested Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance, to provide new insights into how older people on a low income perceive AA and the difference it makes to their lives.

You can download a copy of this research here.

Alongside this research, a policy discussion paper has been published to explore potential reforms and opportunities presented by the Attendance Allowance system:

  • Independence Allowance: Developing a new vision for Attendance Allowance in England

You can download a copy of this report here

This report identifies significant opportunities for policymakers to make better use of the Attendance Allowance system, based on three distinct approaches: data-sharing; information and advice; and, supporting ‘independence behaviours’.

To this end, the report recommends the government to:

  • Digitise all its AA data, and review the quality of the data;
  • Explore the scope to include additional questions in AA not specific to determining eligibility, that may be useful for policy development, targeting and service design;
  • Analyse AA data in order to publish more information on the lives of recipients, etc.
  • Make available population-level area-based data on AA recipients to all local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and Health and Wellbeing Boards and, where appropriate, individual-level data;
  • Ensure all new AA claimants are systematically offered information and advice following an application regardless of whether an award is made;
  • Extend the duty on councils to provide information and advice services, with a specific duty to ensure such services are accessible and directed to AA recipients;
  • Ensure that all 1.3 million AA recipients in England have recourse to a personalised information and advice service via the telephone;
  • Investigate how it can promote and highlight the control AA recipients have over use of the payments while simultaneously supporting ‘independence behaviours’.

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