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Have you had a cancer diagnosis?

A cancer diagnosis can lead to a drop in income and a need for financial assistance from the welfare benefits system.

Our Macmillan Welfare Rights advisers are available to assist with the financial issues faced by cancer patients and their families by providing a free, confidential and impartial advice and information service along with practical assistance with tasks such as form-filling. 

Below is a list of the most common benefits available following a cancer diagnosis:

Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance is available if you are State Pension age and need attention and/or have supervision needs during the day and/or throughout the night. You may qualify for this benefit automatically if you satisfy the special rules for terminally ill people. This is a non-means tested benefit and is payable on top of any other benefit or income you receive.

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a non-means tested benefit which is available to people aged from 16 up to State Pension age. There are two components to PIP - the Daily Living and the Mobility components. Eligibility is determined by the claimant's ability to undertake the following activities:

Daily living activities

  • Preparing food
  • Taking nutrition
  • Managing therapy or monitoring a health condition
  • Washing and bathing
  • Managing toilet needs or incontinence
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Communicating verbally
  • Reading and understanding signs symbols and words
  • Engaging with other people face to face
  • Making budgeting decisions

Mobility activities

  • Planning and following a journey
  • Moving around

Most people who claim PIP will have to attend a face to face consultation with a health professional as part of the assessment process. You may qualify for this benefit automatically if you satisfy the special rules for terminally ill people.

Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance is a non-means-tested benefit paid to disabled children under the age of 16 and who needs more care and supervision than a child of the same age with no disability. There are two components (care and mobility).

New style Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit

New style Employment and Support Allowance (NS ESA) or Universal Credit (UC) for people who are not fit to work are for working-age people who are unable to work due to their illness or disability and who are not/no longer entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. You can claim if you are employed, self-employed, unemployed or a student on Disability Living Allowance or PIP. It is based on your National Insurance contributions or your income, or both.

During the first 13 weeks of your claim, your capability for work is determined through the Work Capability Assessment and you should then be placed in one of two groups: the Work-Related Activity Group or the Support Group, if you are placed in the Support Group then your entitlement will increase. Claimants who are undergoing or recovering from cancer treatment (chemotherapy, radiotherapy) satisfy the criteria for the Support Group.

If you satisfy the special rules for terminally ill people then the increased amount can be paid from the beginning of your NS ESA or UC award.

Carer's Allowance

Carer's Benefits may be appropriate if you care for someone who receives any award of Attendance Allowance, the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment or the middle or highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance.

To qualify you must be:

  • 16 years or over,
  • Caring for someone for at least 35 hours per week, and
  • Earning less than £123 per week (net).

Sometimes claiming Carer's Allowance can impact on the disabled person's benefits. Speak to a welfare rights adviser prior to claiming for further advice.

Grants and other help

Grants and other help may be available from charities or other sources e.g. Scottish Welfare Fund Community Care Grants and Crisis Grants or help from utility companies. These are normally means tested to make sure that the help is given to those in most need.  

This is not an exhaustive list of the help that is available for people who have a cancer diagnosis. For a full welfare benefits check, the Macmillan workers can be contacted via the Welfare Rights Advice Line on 01738 476900 (option 1), email WelfareRights@pkc.gov.uk or face to face advice is available at the weekly drop-in sessions at the Cornhill Macmillan Centre, Perth on Wednesday mornings from 10am - 12pm.

Contact details

Welfare Rights Team

Pullar House, 35 Kinnoull Street, Perth, PH1 5GD
Tel 01738 476900 (Option 1)