This page has sections covering specific benefits, but to see what your entitlement may be you can use Age UK’s benefits calculator and – specifically for people living in Scotland – the Benefits Maze booklet from Age Scotland.
You can also call the Age Scotland free helpline and speak to an adviser any time from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.
Attendance Allowance is a non-means tested benefit paid to people aged 65 or over, based on their needs. Having a diagnosis of dementia does not automatically qualify someone for Attendance Allowance. Attendance Allowance is paid at two rates: £55 per week and £83 per week for those whose needs are more severe. Age Scotland has an excellent booklet that explains eligibility criteria.
To claim: you can download Attendance Allowance forms and complete them yourself or you might prefer to contact the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or your local Carers Centre for assistance.
Please remember that Attendance Allowance is paid per person, not per household. If you are caring for someone with dementia, but you also have health problems for which you need support and you are aged 65 or older, you might be entitled to claim Attendance Allowance in your own right.
Carers Allowance is paid at a rate of £62 per week to carers of people who already receive Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance. If the person for whom you care does not receive any benefits, you cannot claim Carers Allowance. Carers who earn over £110 a week or who receive a state pension are not awarded Carers Allowance. If you claim, the Department for Work and Pensions might reduce the sum awarded to the person you care for.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)/Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
DLA and PIP are benefits that are paid to people with dementia who are under the age of 65 years. PIP took over from DLA but, like DLA, the award is based on an assessment of need rather than a diagnosis. If you are caring for someone with early onset dementia, you need to consider claiming PIP. Citizens Advice Bureaux, Carers Centres, and Dementia Resource Centres can advise.
Council Tax Rebates
Most Local Authorities offer Council Tax Rebates for anyone living with ‘severe mental impairment’.
Depending on the Local Authority, the rebate might be 100% for sole occupancy or 25-50% rebate for two people in the same household where one has a severe mental impairment. If there are more than two people living in the household, it is likely that there will be no reduction in Council Tax.
If you have had to make substantial alterations to your house because you are caring for someone who is also physically disabled, you might also be entitled to a reduction in Council Tax.
Consider checking your tariff to ensure that you have the best rate. If you are spending more time indoors and at home, or you are doing more laundry, it is surprising how costs can increase.