A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) which looked into DWP accounts found that the estimated rate of underpayment in Attendance Allowance is 4.3 percent. This is the equivalent of around £230 million. The public watchdog found that Attendance Allowance had the highest rate of underpayment of all the benefits sampled by the DWP in its annual Fraud and Error exercise for 2021-22.
Overpayment for the benefit was found to be 2.2 percent which is about £120 million.
According to the NAO report, almost all the underpayment of Attendance Allowance is classified as “claimant error”.
This is due to the person claiming having failed to report changes to the DWP.
An example of this would be that a claimant’s health had deteriorated to the point where they would be due a higher rate, but the change was unreported.
Taking the underpayment rate of 4.3 percent at face value, without any indication of which claimants are affected, it could mean as many as 60,476 pensioners could be affected.
That amount which they would be missing out on could be around £3,803 each.
Attendance Allowance is for people who have reached state pension age of 65 years who have a disability or health condition.
The financial support is to help Britons support themselves and stay independent in their own home for longer.
Britons should apply for support if they have a disability or illness and need help or supervision throughout the day or at times during the night.
This could include help with personal care like getting dressed, eating or drinking, getting in and out of bed, bathing or showering and going to the toilet or help to stay safe.
People should also apply if they have difficulties with personal tasks, for example if they take a long time, a person experiences pain or they need physical help, like a chair to lean on.
Attendance Allowance isn’t a means-tested benefit and is not affected by savings or income coming in.
It is also tax-free and means that people will be exempt from the Benefit Cap so they won’t have money taken away from any other benefits.