Martin Lewis urges pensioners to check if they’re ‘missing out’ on thousands of pounds | Personal Finance | Finance

has urged people to check if they or their loved ones are missing out on a “really important” DWP benefit, which could potentially provide them with thousands of pounds extra a year.

The support, otherwise known as , is one of the Department for Work and Pensions’s () most underclaimed benefits, despite its broad eligibility criteria.

Speaking to viewers of his ITV Money Show this evening, Mr Lewis said: “Now the first thing I want to talk about is attendance allowance. It is really, really important.

“Up to 1.1 [disabled or ill ] are missing out – this number comes from work that my team and the Policy in Practice have done. It’s not official numbers. The Government don’t agree with it, but it could be up to 1.1 million people, and this helps cover the costs of those who need assistance.”

Delving into the eligibility rules, Mr Lewis said: “You must have needed help or supervision for six consecutive months.

“Help means help with daily living. Let me give you a definition. This comes from Lord Denning, who is a very famous judge, Master of the Rolls in 1981, and this reads dated, but it gives you a good indication.

“Help for bodily functions includes breathing, hearing, seeing, eating, drinking, walking, sitting, sleeping, getting in or out of bed, dressing and dressing, eliminating waste products and the like, all of which an ordinary person who is not suffering from any disability does for himself.”

Mr Lewis noted that, while it “reads dated”, the type of guidance is still what is used now and provides a “decent definition”.

He added that needing “supervision” to avoid danger to a person or other people, which could be a mental health condition, is also included in the eligibility criteria.

Mr Lewis said: “I really need your help to spread the word about this. For the people who aren’t claiming. It’s common for those with severe Parkinson’s, dementia, terminal illness and more. If you’ve got a power of attorney for someone, you can apply for them.

“Even if you’re not getting assistance. Crucially, it’s not means-tested, so it is not just for those on low incomes.”

However, Attendance Allowance cannot be claimed alongside or Disability Living Allowance. According to Mr Lewis, these are usually “worth more” so people may want to “stick with those” instead.

Delving into Attendance Allowance rates, Mr Lewis said: “To give you the scale of this, the lower rate here is £68 a week – £3,500 a year, and that is someone who needs help during the day or the night.

“If you need help during the day and the night, you get the higher rate of £102 a week, so over £5,000 a year.

“Also, it’s worth saying, sadly, if you’ve got less than a year to live, you also get the higher rate.”

Mr Lewis then urged people who think they may be eligible to claim by phone, as this could potentially land them with a larger payment than claiming through the website.

He explained: “Claims can’t be backdated, so you need to apply. The sooner you get on with this, the sooner you get paid. You need your National Insurance number, GP info, prescriptions, and hospital records handy. That will help you.

“Call for the form, because then they send you a form and you apply, but you get paid from the date you called up for the form.

“If you download the form of GOV.UK and you’re successful, you get paid on the day you send [the form] back to them. There could be at least an eight-weeks difference in that. So call for the form.”

People can reach the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0800 731 0122.