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See: Macmillan Cancer Support's section on Financial Help:
If you've just been diagnosed with cancer, the financial implications probably haven't registered yet. But having cancer can be expensive in ways you hadn't expected. As your treatment begins you may find you have to give up work. Your partner may also have to reduce their hours in order to care for you. You could well face extra expense to cover transport to and from hospital, increased heating bills and even new clothes to cope with weight loss or gain.

The Government offers various benefits you may be able to claim which will help you cope better:

You may also be eligible for other benefits to help with extra expenses, such as prescription charges.

If you're terminally ill, you can apply for either Disability Living Allowance or Attendance allowance under the 'special rules'. Your claim should be dealt with more quickly and you should get the benefit at a higher rate.

Also see Cancer backup's Financial issues for a practical guide to people diagnosed with cancer, their families and friends:
This information provides Financial issues can cause worry when someone becomes ill. Many people find that a diagnosis of cancer affects their finances and can cause money problems.

  • Take advice
  • Sick pay and benefits
  • What you can do
  • Getting your paperwork in order
  • Employment-related benefits
  • Disability and attendance benefits
  • Income support
  • Tax credits
  • Help with NHS costs
  • Grants
  • Morgages, pensions and life assurance
  • Viatical settlements
  • Dealing with debt
  • References
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from Rarer Cancer Forum's message board , wanderer said:
All cancer patients are eligible for Disability Living Allowance - this won't be permanent, most people are taken off it after 2 years. It isn't means tested.

I didn't know this when I got cancer - assumed I didn't qualify because I was working, tho' on sick leave, and had some money in the bank. However, I've met loads of people in similar position who have managed to claim for eg. oesophagus, breast, gynae. cancers. It has been withdrawn at the end of two years.

The snag is the complicated form. You're supposed to claim within so many weeks (can't remember how many)but if you're late with that you just lose the weeks when you didn't claim, and can still claim. I should go to your local benefits office and ask for a form for DLA.
But the process does not appear to be user friendly!

from the Rarer Cancer Forum's message board , Laura said:
I have to say I was very disappointed with the help I received from the government. I also had to travel at least 10 days in every 21 to hospital for treatment, and was not given any help with transport. I had not been at my new job long enough for them to pay me SS pay, so was told I would have to apply for Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance. I was not entitled to IB as they had used my years at university to calculate my NI contributions, as I didnt have a job while I was at university I had not paid enough - to be honest, its not something a student thinks about at the time, as I lived at home and off my student loan and wasn't on benefits or anything, I didnt need a job. But if I had known it would come back and bite me on the bum later things might have been different, but it just felt like I was being punished for studying.

As for the Disability Living Allowance, I did qualify for it but at the time I had applied I hadnt been sick for more than 6months so could not have that either.

So I got no benefits or help for being sick, the only thing I they would give me was Income Support (I think they had to give me something), which was £35 a week. £35 for petrol, and as I'm sure you'll all know the other costs of having treatment, foods, vitamins etc.

My mum gave up her job to care for me, because I couold do nothing myself because my treatment was so intense, I was just too weak, but she couldn't get a carers allowance either.

Oh but I did get a blue badge. So I was disabled enough at the time to have a blue badge, but for nothing else. Its crazy, this country stinks, all I can say is I am glad I had such a supportive family around me. I just didnt think it was fair that they had to pay for me and everything I needed. Its not like I asked to be ill or was feigning it. I wasnt planning on being off sick for the long term, I'm going back to work in September, 10 months from diagnosis, because I don't want to sit around, I could probably stay off longer because I have nerve damage in my hands and feet, but I wasnt brought up like that.

I'd just like to know how ill you have to be before this country helps you. I hope you have more luck than I did.
Hi all,

An e-petition has been set up at 10 Downing Street, asking the PM to look into the benefit system and how people with cancer are funded during their treatment. Most people are financially okay for a while because their company pays them sick-pay, although this gets reduced over time. However, students and the self-employed can fall between the cracks and
have difficulty getting sufficient money. For example, to claim income support you have to be ill for 28 weeks before you can claim- which is a fair chunk of chemo treatment time (if not all of it); jobseekers allowance - I didn't meet any patient trying to find a new job whilst having chemo!; Disability Living Allowance - basically you have to be ill enough to have someone else look after you, which is a situation many cancer patients are in for a few days post-chemo before they recover, so this is difficult to claim; incapacity benefit - need to younger than 20 or have paid the minimum National Insurance over a year, which many students won't have paid. On top of all this, it can take a month or more before the benefits are set-up.

The e-petition asks the government to look at the benefit system in relation to paying people whilst they are having cancer treatment and are recovering. Most patients are keen to get back to their jobs and a normal life as soon as they can after treatment. Suzanna Laycock has asked the government to consider setting up a special 'cancer income benefit' which would replace the current multi benefit system and fund vulnerable, low-income patients during treatment.

It needs to get 200 people to sign the e-petition in order for someone at No 10 to view it. It would be good to for all MCF message board members to support it.

If you think you would like to sign it, please go to this link: 'cancer income benefit' petition

Thanks, Vinod
Founder & Chief Executive
Mouth Cancer Foundation
I have signed up, and I will email this to my friends and family & ask them to sign the petition as well. So many people are affected by cancer in one way or another, and the benefit system is not set up for it. I was lucky enough to have a good insurance policy that paid a percentage of my salary after the six months sick leave, but I wasn't fit enough to return to work for a year after my treatment started, 15 mnonths after it ended. I was paid incapacity benefit for a while, but this was withdrawn because excessive fatigue was not recognised as a sympton of my treatment, or a valid reason not to work. I also did not mention the joint pains, failing eyesight, and digestive problems some of which I had put down to increasing age, and I had not releasised were the after effects of the chemo. I was lucky that I was protected against the financial implications by my insurance policy, but there are many people who would have an impossible decision to make about whether they were fit enough to return to work. Hopefully this new benefit would allow patients the time to recover both physically and mentally.
It is wrong that so many people who have paid there national insurance for many years, should be put in the position of practically begging for these benefits, when there doctors and consultants are offering medical advise that is ignored by the benefit system.

Thats me signed!
I dont know how people do it without savings.
If it wasnt for my family & boss i'd have certainly lost my home. & that's the last thing you need when your going through treatment!
As Jenni says its wrong people who've paid there taxes have to beg for financial support!
I applied for a McMillan grant to pay for petrol to & from Brighton 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Not to mention the chemo before hand. & i couldnt get it because the way its worked out makes you look far better off than you arer.
For your out goings, all thats considered is Rent, Electricity, Counsil Tax. But not food, gas, responsibilities etc.

So i went for dissability allowance, seeing as how i was bed ridden, severe nerve damage so i couldn't hold a pen, ulcers so deep i couldnt speak. But NO - cant have that either!

& incapacity benefit is just £70 a week!

Its rediculous!
Wish I could sign a million times!!
I can't believe cancer patients have to go through this added stress along with coping daily with their illness Bomb. I don't know what I would have done without help from others. I eventually got my benefits sorted out after taking them to an appeal, but the time leading up to that I struggled! It's not as if we're faking illness like so many others the proof is there to be seen Banghead
Lets hope the government see sense and sort this out.

The thing that infuriates me, is there's a woman that used to work at the shop with me that gets FULL dissability & i'm sure she'll out live us all! She's a fake and fraud!
When i was off i had so many phone calls & letter from the incapacity benefit office... "Why can't you work??"... Well... cuz i'm 6 stone 10, cant walk, cant eat, cant hold a pen, hurts to speak. & i'd have them asking me to attend a committee meeting up 3 flights of stairs! I'd phone my nan in tears thinking they were gunna stop my money & i'd not be able to pay my mortgage! & she'd sort it for me. But it really is the LAST thing you need!
They make you jump through hoops!
I dont know how these fakes get through the system - but something needs to be done!
Can I just say that you do not have to be sick for 26 weeks to get Income Support and it does open the doors to other forms of help such as Housing Benefit, Community Charge Benefit, NHS costs including travelling costs to hospital. It may, depending on your circumstances, be paid in addition to other benefits as wel (if you receive cetain benefits the Income Support rate is higher).

The benefit system is complicated and if you're not sure you should ask. I would hope that DWP staff give you good advice but go to the Citizens Advice Bureaux if you want a second opinion.
I couldn't agree with you more! I had a couple living opposite me, who never done a days work, had a fancy car and all the designer clothes and yet were claiming all these benefits.I have always worked,got two children and a mortgage going through cancer treatment and get my money stopped,have to go to a tribunal and answer totally irrelavant questions which have no baring on my illness,to try and prove I am too ill to work, the system is WRONG.I was fortunate I had the help of my family and the MacMillan trust, surely the fact that you are a cancer patient is proof enough!!!!

When I had to give up work through illness,I had no idea what I was entitled to as I had never had to claim before.Also I wasn't in the right frame of mind for filling in forms. I fortunately had family who enquired for me.When asked why I had not been told what I was entitled too my Father was told it is on a need to know basis, they don't volunteer information Banghead
It is so true that the honest hard working people pay the price because they don't know how to 'work' the system, it really makes my blood boil, lets hope we can help make the government see sense and help cancer patients rather than give them unnessesary worry about where their next penny is coming from.

Income support is only viable if you dont have a job! Not if you DO have a job but are sick!

I've mentioned on here about a man that came into work, saying that when you retire all the days merge into one. I replied that i know what he meant, as i had the same when i was off sick for 3 months. He looked me up and down and in a sarcastic tone said "aaaa... poor you. Do you want a bunch of flowers or something?" I was shocked and fired back - "no thank you, i got plenty of flowers when i was in hospital recovering from my cancer treatment!" Banghead
Everyone knows there are far too many benefit cheats out there, and then assume the worst of people like me who genuinely needed help! Soapbox
I also got turned down for DLA,I don't know what sort of illness you need to have!!At my worst I couldn't go up or down stairs unaided,my husband had to help me in and out the bath and I couldn't walk any distance because I was so weak and the medication I was on made me feel like a zombie.
I personally think that any person going throught cancer treatment should get DLA, even for a little while.I don't know about the rest of you,but I couldn't face the pages and pages of forms. I had more serious issues to deal with,I didn't have the strength.
I feel really strongly about this,and hope something can be done to change the system,cancer isn't something you 'put on'so there should be no question that these people are entitled to every help during their illness.
Best wishes
Hello Tracey

Was at Britain Against Cancer 2007 with John S and Ray Y. At BAC2007, I asked 2 questions to Prof Mike Richards, after thanking him about his presentation of the Cancer Reform Strategy (CRS) (good things - see link below), about HPV vaccine for boys too and problems cancer patients were having with getting patient financial support. Also met key people from Cancer Research UK and Macmillan to make sure H&N cancer patients (through MCF) are represented as stakeholders in the workshop/ meetings on survivor network and support issues planned in Feb and March 2008 as part of the CRS implementation process. The Cancer Reform Strategy mentions financial support for patients and carers as areas for improvement. It is available to read at:

Best wishes
Vinod Coffee
Hi there - can I just say the McMillan advisers told my parents that they weren't entitled to anything (they are 76 and 79 yrs), but people advised them to ask again and the council sent a Welfare Rights Adviser to see them and to help complete the forms.

My mum has now received attendance allowance, backdate to the day she applied and apparently my dad will qualify for carer's allowance too, but he hasnt been notified of this yet.

They were both absolutely flabbergasted as they have never been given anything and very little help all the way through their lives and they live on basic pension.

I'm so pleased for them.

Check to see if your DWP / Council dept whatever, has a Welfare Rights adviser and pursue them.

I can understand why you would have to pay for your prescriptions if you were on full pay from work. What I fail to understand is why you WERE on full pay when you were not able to work?? It may of been more advisable for you to of been signed off from work and to of claimed the benefits that you have spent your life paying for and are entitled to.

I was never offered a Macmillan nurse but was given amazing financial help from their benefits section who were the most fantastic help. I would recommend anyone who joins our little club to contact them, they really do know the in's and out's of a ducks behind!!

My son DID have to pay for his perscriptions. Unlike Chloe he wasn't on full pay but pays into a sickness fund at work.This took him to just above the amount the government states is enough to live on. Going on benefits was not an option to do this he would have had to give up his job and with a wife and two little ones this was not possible. Had recently changed his mortgage so insurance hadn't been running long enough to cover his payments. Luckily his building society let him take a years mortgage break. So I agree with Hagg, about time, because there are a lot of cancer patients who have to pay for perscriptions.

I too found that I was not entitled to anything because I was being paid by my company for most of the time and have happily been able to return to work full time. I am still paying for a prescription certificate now for items to help my dry mouth condition and the high blood pressure which developed as a result of the chemo. It's not a moment too soon. Perhaps they will allow cancer patients an allowance on hospital car park fees next.

hello everybody..,

im 23 yrs old...from philippines..
my mother was not yet diagnos with cancer but when we consulted an EENT he said that it will be a cancer if she will be spitting blood means her throat is already having scratches since its swollen. now she is spitting blood.he voice is almost problem is that we cant send her to a speacialist coz we have no finances..will u pleace give me idea where will i can find help? my mother is loosing weight and getting weak everyday..i am afraid.
thank u.
Please support the Put the fair into welfare petition to preserve benefits for cancer patients:

Put the fair into welfare
Time is running out to make sure that people with cancer don’t lose benefits.
Proposed changes to the benefits system could leave thousands of people living with cancer without vital financial support during the toughest fight of their lives - pushing some into poverty.

Please take a few minutes to listen to Julian and Karen in our audio clip . You’ll hear what the proposed changes to the Welfare Reform Bill really mean for people living with cancer.

Help us campaign by signing our petition. Your support will be invaluable as we talk to Lords and MPs and they prepare to vote on these changes.
Last edited by drvinodkjoshi

Whilst mt husband was ill, he received a careers allowance which was paid for about two years until he was announced clear.  More recently, he suffered a third bout of cancer, again he got carers allowand, I think it was about £87 per week (although all authorities were informed when his death was registered) they are now demanding three weeks overpayment) no means test was applied. 

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