Pensioners urged to make most of benefit

Unregistered RawShooter essentials 2005 1.1.3 build 15
Unregistered RawShooter essentials 2005 1.1.3 build 15

TWO organisations have joined forces to help older people in Blyth stay healthy and continue to live in their own homes.

Blyth Citizens Advice Bureau and Northumberland County Council are taking part in a project to encourage people over the age of 65 who need help with personal care to come forward to claim Attendance Allowance.

The team have offices in Blyth, Cramlington and Seaton Delaval and can also arrange home visits.

Applicants do not have to be in receipt of help from anyone to be eligible to claim, despite the name, and is not means tested.

It is paid at one of two weekly rates, currently £51.85 or £77.45, and is based on the help the person needs, which could include assistance with getting in and out of bed, dressing, having a bath or eating and drinking.

Coun Ian Lindley, the council’s executive member for care and well-being, said: “Many of our older people do not claim Attendance Allowance because they are not aware of it or they feel that they are asking for charity.

“This money is theirs by right, not charity, and is intended to enable people to live independently in their communities.

“This allowance is not linked to any savings and can help the local economy as it allows people to live independently in their own homes.

“Attendance Allowance can be crucial for the well-being of vulnerable and disabled people in the county and claimants are able to spend this on anything that would make their lives easier.

“It is also part of the council’s commitment to ensure that residents are able to access services in the most convenient places for them and the Blyth CAB is located in the centre of town.”

Bernard Pidcock, manager at Blyth Citizens Advice Bureau, added: “The Allowance is based on the needs of an individual not on their condition.

“Our Attendance Allowance team is keen to make sure that as many people as possible are aware of the allowance, which can make a big difference to a person’s life, such as getting help with cleaning, gardening or even shopping and more.”

Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit it will not reduce benefits like Pension Credit or Council Tax Benefit and, in some cases, can actually lead to a substantial increase in those benefits.

People who ring or call into the Blyth CAB will be asked a few simple questions about their age and address before an appointment is arranged.

Blyth CAB can be contacted on (01670) 369 082.