Older people living in care homes in Scotland
are set to lose their entitlement to attendance allowance once free
personal care is introduced in April 2002.
Self-funding clients over the age of 65 in
residential care homes are currently entitled to attendance
allowance, either £55.30 or £37 a week depending on the
extent of personal care required.
However, once free personal care is introduced
in April, the Department for Work and Pensions will stop paying
this benefit, claiming that the Scottish executive will already be
meeting this need.
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and
Pensions said that the rules remain unchanged and that continuing
to pay attendance allowance would set a precedent for other
“Social security payments are made to meet
needs defined under relevant rules and there is a long standing
principle that where that need is met from elsewhere, social
security is not payable,” she said.
In its report Fair Care for Older
People, the Care Development Group, set up to examine the
implementation of free personal care, bases its proposals on the
assumption that individuals will continue to be eligible for
“The advent of free personal care will be a
welcome additional opportunity for older people to benefit from
assistance from public funds but it is not intended to supersede or
replace existing benefits in any way or to alter the way in which
the current national DWP benefits system operates,” states the
Help the Aged Scotland hopes that the Scottish
executive will keep its promise. “The Scottish executive has given
assurances that, even if the funds for attendance allowance are
withdrawn, they will make up the shortfall and go ahead and
implement their proposals for free personal care,” said a
Age Concern Scotland welcomed the
recommendations of the Care Development Group but expressed
concerns over funding.
“The funding levels are dependent upon
continuing entitlement to attendance allowance, which under current
regulations would be denied to people living in residential or
nursing home accommodation,” said Jess Barrow, head of policy and
The Scottish executive said that it was still
in negotiations with Westminster over the issue.