|Financial and legal issues and
"I get attendance
allowance which has helped both myself and my husband"
with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) can incur extra
expenses due to their special needs for treatment, care or equipment. For
this reason, there are a number of financial benefits available, to which
you may be entitled.
of these extra benefits are available dependent solely on your disability,
regardless of your other income and savings. Other benefits are means -
tested, so eligibility will depend on your
income and savings.
who are aged 65 and over may be eligible for the 'Attendance Allowance'
if their PD or general condition means that they need help with personal
care or need someone around constantly to ensure safety. You are entitled
to claim if you require someone to help to “attend” to your needs and
could not manage If left alone with no outside contact or support.
people must have needed help for at least 6 months before the attendance
allowance can be awarded. There are some detailed claim forms that must be
completed. These are available from the local Social Security Office.
with PD who are aged under 65 who need help with personal care or getting
around can apply for the Disabled Living Allowance instead of the
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- Depending on their income, a Carer
Allowance may be available to those aged under 65, who are providing
care for at least 35 hours a week to a person receiving the Attendance
you have difficulties collecting your pension or benefits, you can
inform the local benefits agency of someone who will collect them on
your behalf (your ‘authorised agent’).
an ‘Enduring Power of Attorney’ is a sensible move for any
older person with a progressive disabling condition. This allows an
‘attorney’ (or ‘attorneys’) to carry out any specified financial
or legal transactions on your behalf and this authority continues
(‘endures’) even if you become unable to act for yourself, for
example due to mental or physical frailty. An Enduring Power of Attorney
must be drawn up (best done by a solicitor) and signed whilst you are
fit and able to understand fully what you are doing.
you are concerned about the intensity of medical intervention should you
become very disabled (for example use of artificial feeding or
resuscitiation procedures), then you might consider making an ‘Advance
Directive’, or Living Will. Medical staff and relatives would then
have to consider your previously expressed wishes when making management
Further information on your eligibility for
financial benefits can be obtained from the Benefits Agency (telephone
helpline 0800 882200), local Citizens Advice Bureau, Parkinson’s Disease
Society, or Age Concern. Your family doctor,
Parkinson’s Disease Nurse Specialist, or social worker should
also be able to advise.
Useful reading includes:
‘Your Rights’, by Sally
West, published in 2003 by Age Concern, London.
Useful websites include: