Financial Support for people with Cancer

Work & Cancer

Once you have been diagnosed with cancer you are deemed to have a disability and are covered by the Equality Act 2010 (or the Disability Discrimination Act if you live in Northern Ireland). Both acts are there to protect the employee from discrimination and employers are expected to make reasonable adjustments to support the employee. It helps to tell your employer about your condition as not doing so can cause problems and the employer is not required by law to make any adjustments for you at work. Examples of reasonable adjustments include:

Working during treatment

Deciding to work during your treatment is a personal decision based on your circumstances. Working during treatment can give people satisfaction and helps to focus on something other than the cancer. To help you decide if it is possible to carry on working you should take the following into account:

It may be best to talk to your employer as they may be able to offer suggestions to enable you to carry on working (see reasonable adjustments)

If you decide that you cannot continue to work you must make sure that you honour your terms and conditions of employment. For the first seven days of your sickness you can fill in a self-certificate available from your employer or doctor’s surgery. Anything over seven days means you will require a certificate signed by your doctor. You may also have to attend sickness review meetings to receive progress on your sickness. By law you should be provided with Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and this can depend on your employer and this is paid for 28 weeks. You may also be entitled to Occupational Sick Pay if it is stated in your contract of employment, which is paid by your employer. The employer will have certain conditions, for instance, you may get full pay for 6 months and then half pay for another 6 months.

If you are not entitled to SSP or it has run out, your employer must provide you with an SSP1 which outlines why you are no longer eligible for it. You may be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from the Department of Work and Pensions. There is more information on ESA in the Benefits section. If you decide to carry on working around your treatment and you reduce your hours, you may also be entitled to Working Tax Credit if you are on a low income providing you work more than 16 hours per week and you get one of the following benefits:

See further information on Benefits below. For more information on working tax credit please contact the Inland Revenue and Customs department or contact the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900.

When returning back to work, another medical certificate will be required to state that you are now fit for work and the doctor may suggest the following for your return to help you settle in again especially after a long term of sickness.

Government Benefits

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

The Personal Independence Payment replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in 2013 in England, Scotland and Wales (people in Northern Ireland are still entitled to apply for DLA) and is available to anyone aged between 16 and 64 who has a long-term condition or disability - whether they are in work or not. Applicants must have a disability or long term health condition that limits their ability to carry out certain activities, and the benefit is designed to cover:

To be eligible you need to fulfil some required conditions. The qualifying period is three months before the date on which you became entitled to PIP and you must be likely to continue to meet the conditions for at least nine months after the date you became eligible for PIP.

For terminally ill patients, the above conditions do not apply and you are automatically entitled to the benefit.

To claim you need to apply at who will send you out a form which needs to be filled in and sent back to them. In some cases you can use a DS1500 which your consultant can complete and send back to them. However you apply, you may need an assessment by a professional health care worker who will assess you based on the information that you stated on your application form.

There are two rates of payment – standard and enhanced. If the DWP decision maker decides that your ability to carry out the mobility activities are limited, you will get the standard rate. If your ability is severely limited, you will get the enhanced rate mobility component.

For more information please see the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Attendance Allowance (AA)

Attendance Allowance is a benefit for severely disabled people aged 65 or over who need help with personal care. AA is not means-tested and it is tax-free. It is awarded either as an ongoing benefit or for a fixed period, determined by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Attendance Allowance is paid at 2 rates, higher and lower rates but there are special rules for someone who is terminally ill which means that the claimant will automatically qualify for AA at the higher rate. If you make a claim for Attendance Allowance under these special rules, the claim is prioritised and will normally be decided within 8 working days.

Someone is regarded as terminally ill if they have a progressive disease and their death from that disease is reasonably expected within six months. Although there must be a reasonable expectation that death will occur within six months, Attendance Allowance will normally continue to be paid for three years under the special rules. At the end of this time, the claimant may be asked for further information about their health so that their entitlement can be reassessed.

If you are entitled to make a claim under the special rules, your doctor or consultant will be able to help with your application. They will need to complete a DS1500 form and provide information about your diagnosis and treatment. The DS1500 form should be sent with the Attendance Allowance claim form to the DWP. Claim forms are available online, at any Jobcentre Plus office or by ringing the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0345 605 6055

For more information, please go to

Employment & Support Allowance

ESA is for people who cannot work due to sickness or disability and are not getting Statutory Sick Pay. There are two types of ESA:

To apply for Employment & Support Allowance, telephone Job Centre Plus who will go through some questions with you and then send you a statement of your situation to check. The telephone number is 0800 055 6688. Alternatively you can download or complete a claim form online at There is also a Welsh Language help line on 0800 012 1888. For more information see:

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

You cannot make a new claim for DLA in England, Scotland or Wales but can apply in Northern Ireland. DLA is for people under 65 who are disabled. To be eligible for the benefit, you must have personal care needs or difficulty with walking because of either a physical or mental disability.

The benefit has two parts, the care component and the mobility component. The care component has three rates depending on how often and how much care you need. The mobility component is paid at two rates, depending on how much difficulty you have with walking. You may get one component of DLA or both. You can claim DLA if you claim before you are 65 and you have care needs or mobility needs for at least 3 months and are likely to have these needs for at least another 6 months.

If you live in Northern Ireland, you can apply by phoning the Disability and Carers Service on 028 9090 6182 Helpline or apply online at

For further details and the current rates, please go to the website.


Macmillan Grant – A one off grant for people with cancer who have low income and savings. You can apply for a grant for things such as clothing, travel to and from hospital, telephone installation and bills, heating and holidays. To qualify for a grant, you must have cancer or still be affected by your illness or treatment and fulfil the following criteria:

Have no more than £6,000 in savings if you are single and £8,000 as a couple or family; Have less than £170 per week disposable income if you are single or £289 per week for a couple, plus £85 per child or £119 for each additional adult in the household if their income is relevant.

To apply for a grant you will need to contact Macmillan who will send you out an application form and offer further information. For more information please contact Macmillan by telephoning 0207 840 7840 or by going to their website:

Charis Grants Ltd – Charis manages trust funds and local assistance funds on behalf of some of the major utility companies and local authorities. The aim of the trust is to provide financial assistance for people who are in debt or have difficulty paying their bills. The grants are available to:-

For more information, please contact Charis by telephoning 01733 421 021 or go to



Prescriptions are free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. People with cancer in England are also entitled to free prescriptions. To apply you need to get a FP92A form from your doctor or oncologist. The exemption certificate lasts for 5 years and excludes you from paying prescription charges, which can be especially beneficial if you have lots of medication prescribed.

Road tax exemption (free tax disc)

You may be entitled to a free tax disc if you are disabled and get the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA or the enhanced rate of PIP. If you get the standard rate of PIP you may be entitled to 50% discount on the cost of your tax.

London Congestion Charge

There is a charge to travel within the congestion charging zone in Central London at certain times. If you have a blue badge you can register for a 100% discount so you will not have to pay. However, there is a one off payment of £10.

Hospital Parking

Hospital car parking varies around England, many hospital have concessions for cancer patients and you should ask at your hospital to explain what their policy is, as you may be entitled to free or reduced cost parking.

In Scotland parking is free except for at 3 privately owned hospitals in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Parking is also free for people in Wales except for a few hospitals who have external contracts in place. In Northern Ireland parking is free for chemotherapy and radiotherapy patients.

Blue Badge Scheme

This scheme provides parking concessions for people with severe mobility problems. The badge allows the holder to park closer to where they need to go. To apply for a blue badge you should contact your council. In London there is a green badge for Camden, red for the city, purple for Kensington and Chelsea and white for Westminster.

Disabled Rail cards

You can get a disabled rail card if you have difficulty travelling by train. You get 1/3 off rail fares for you and a friend. To be eligible you need to be getting PIP or DLA. You can apply online at National Rail and there is a charge of £20 for a full year’s discount.

Disabled Bus Pass

This follows the same principles of the Disabled rail card and is available in England and Wales only. To get this you need to contact your local council.

Assistance Cards

These cards have messages on to tell the drivers what help you would like during your journey and include such things as, I have mobility problems and need more time to sit down. These are available from Arriva, Stagecoach, Metro and First Group PLC – Hampshire.

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