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Helping the ‘missing million’

AA speech Strategic Society Centre June 20131.3 million elderly people in England claim Attendance Allowance (AA). New research shows 80 per cent have a long-term illness like heart disease, diabetes, stroke and arthritis, and over a half have 9 or more mobility problems or difficulties with the basic activities of daily living – like getting washed and dressed, going to the toilet, and moving around the house.

Despite their high levels of need, more than a million AA claimants get no help from local council social care services, and less than 1 in 20 get help from NHS community nurses. A major problem is that whilst the Department for Work and Pensions holds information on AA claimants this information is not shared with local councils or NHS services.

Getting people the right information, advice, services and support early on – both about what they could spend their AA on and the local social care and NHS services that are available in their area – could help them stay living independently in their own homes for longer, and prevent them from having to go into more expensive hospital or residential care.

That is why Labour’s policy review will explore how we can better support the ‘missing million’ of elderly people who receive AA and their family carers.