Thursday 04 Jun 2020
Tom â€“ Maggie's
Cancer and its treatments can bring considerable additional costs like transport to appointments, childcare, pet-care or heating costs.
You may be too unwell to work â€“ due to the cancer itself, the effects of treatment, the psychological impact of your diagnosis or a mixture of these things.
The main support through this time comes from social security benefits. Some of these will be assessed on household income and savings, but many benefits are not means-tested and can be paid regardless of your financial circumstances. This is on top of any income from work, self employment or in retirement.
Finding out which benefits might apply to you, and claiming them can feel like navigating through a maze â€“ but we're here to help.
You can get individual advice about your situation from one of our experienced Benefits Advisors at your nearest ľŢČéÎŢÂë centre.
A Maggieâ€™s Benefits Advisor can help you to:
Universal Credit (UC) was introduced in 2013 as a way of simplifying the benefits system. It merges six of the most important means-tested benefits and tax credits into one and won't be fully rolled out until Sept 2024.
UC mainly affects people of working age who are entitled to means-tested financial support. This could be because of a low or perhaps temporarily reduced income like, for example, if you cannot work because you have cancer.
UC takes over as both a general cash top up, whether you are earning or not and as the way of extra support for dependent children and to help pay the rent.
The six benefits that merged to create UC are often called the â€ślegacy benefitsâ€ť by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). If you are already receiving these then you stay as you are for now, unless you either choose to switch to UC or you may have to if certain changes occur. Do get independent advice first. in future, you will be contacted by the DWP and then will have to change to UC.
The six legacy benefits and how they might help you after a cancer diagnosis:
These are benefits to give you a basic income to live on while you are off sick from work â€“ whether you were employed, self-employed or looking for work when illness strikes. These include: Statory sick pay (SSP) from an employer, a changing Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (when unwell).
Benefits are becoming increasingly different according to whether you have crossed that line between "working age" and "pension age" â€“ a line which for new claims is currently edging up from 65 to 66.
There is additional help in addition to the state pension for those facing cancer or any other long-term health challenge.
There are two parts to a tax credit claim from Her Majestyâ€™s Revenue and Customs (HMRC):
New claims for tax credits are not possible now unless you are getting a â€śsevere disability premiumâ€ť within a legacy benefit. If you aren't you claim universal credit instead.
Most people already receiving tax credits remain on them for now. If you are getting either tax credit, you can still add the other, as this would not be a new claim.
There is help available with the extra costs that come with cancer like, for example, travel to hospital, prescription charges in England, dental and optical charges and the costs of wigs and fabric supports.
You may be able to get extra help in addition to all other benefits, at any stage of your illness and regardless of any other income, savings or your National Insurance record.
These disability benefits are paid for extra difficulties for people with a long-term illness or disability. This is regardless of whether these stop you from working or not, so these can be useful both during treatment and on a return to work.
An award of a disability benefit can also enable a carer to claim Carers Allowance, it is never taken off other benefits and can sometimes increase entitlement to other benefits when on a low income.
Disability benefits are age-related and include:
Disability benefits are changing in Scotland as the three benefits above become new Disability Assistance benefits between 2020 and 2021. The same basic criteria apply (so no re-assessments) - but the aim is to make claims and assessments far less daunting.
Some benefits are â€śmeans testedâ€ť, and only apply if you are on a low income. However, most are â€śnon-means testedâ€ť and so can apply regardless of your financial circumstances:
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