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Attendance Allowance: Eligibility Criteria

Volume 641: debated on Monday 21 May 2018

12. What assessment she has made of the appropriateness of the eligibility criteria for attendance allowance. (905445)

Attendance allowance is available to those aged over 65, and entitlement is based on the ongoing need for frequent personal care and attention, or supervision, to ensure personal safety. The Government believe that the current long-standing qualifying rules for the allowance are working well. It is a popular benefit. Nearly 1.5 million people are currently receiving it, including 2,000 in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency.

Before Christmas, I raised with the Prime Minister the case of Mr Walker from Great Harwood, in my constituency. Mr Walker was a fit and able pensioner until, at the age of 69, he was run over by a drunk driver. He is now quadriplegic, paralysed from the neck down. He and his wife are struggling, and their Ford Fiesta is of no use whatsoever. He has been released from hospital, and he is not being given the help that he needs. Why is a previously fit and healthy 69-year-old man not entitled to the disability help that he needs—such as a Motability car—because of his age?

The hon. Gentleman recounts the truly tragic case of his constituent, and of course he will be able to apply for attendance allowance, but that is not the only support available. Clearly he will need support from the NHS and adult social care, where a range of support is available, and attendance allowance can be used on Motability aids as well.