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Being diagnosed with a terminal illness

If you have a terminal illness or progressive disease that is expected to cause your death, you may be able to apply for benefit under special benefit rules called the Special Rules.

The advantages of making a claim under the special rules are it is easier, claims are dealt with faster, you automatically get the highest rate of benefit and benefit can be paid straight away. 

Which benefits do the special rules apply to?

The special rules apply to the following Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) benefits:

and the Adult Disability Payment and Child Disability Payment which are administered by Social Security Scotland.

Who can get benefit under the special rules?

You can make a claim under the special rules for DWP benefits if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and are not reasonably expected to live for more than 12 months. This could be due to having a progressive condition such as cancer, lung disease or heart failure. 

A claim for Adult Disability Payment or Child Disability Payment can be made in the same circumstances or if you or they have a progressive disease that can reasonably be expected to cause death.

Someone else such as a family member or a support worker can help make a special rules claim, if for example, you are too unwell to deal with the claim yourself however, please note that all notification letters and payment will be sent direct to you.   

Claiming under the special rules - step by step guide

Step 1      Contact your GP, consultant or specialist nurse and ask them to complete an SR1 or for Adult Disability Payment and Child Disability Payment a Benefits Assessment under Special Rules in Scotland (BASRiS) form 
Step 2

Make a claim for Attendance Allowance, Adult Disability Payment or for a child under aged 16, Child Disability Payment.  You may also need to make a claim for Employment and Support Allowance and/or Universal Credit.

Step 3

GP or consultant issues form SR1 or BASRiS form which is then sent to the relevant DWP or Social Security Scotland office. 


You can also upload an SR1 or BASRiS form to Social Secuirty Scotland in support of a special rules claim for Child or Adult Disability Payment.

Step 4You should expect a decision within two weeks (5 working days for New Style Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit). 
Step 5If the Special Rules are satisfied then a higher rate benefit is awarded.
Step 6If the Special Rules are not satisfied then your claim(s) will be considered under normal benefit rules.

SR1 form

If applying for DWP benefits you must obtain and submit an SR1 medical report to the office dealing with your claim.  Please ask your GP, consultant or specialist for an SR1 report. This report gives details about your medical condition.  You can also ask the doctor's receptionist or secretary, a nurse or someone acting on your behalf to arrange it for you. If your doctor is unsure whether they can issue this form or if they do not have a supply of the forms, you may wish to refer them to the DWP guidance for "Special Rules".

If you don't have an SR1 report by the time you make the claim, you can send the form later. Please do not delay making your claim while you are waiting on an SR1 report being issued to you as you may lose money. Please also note that the SR1 report in itself is not a claim form and if you are given one, you will still need to make a claim for benefit if you have not already done so.

BASRiS form

A Benefits Assessment under Special Rules in Scotland (BASRiS) form is completed by a doctor or nurse if they decide that a person has a terminal illness. This means that Social Security Scotland can fast track their application for Adult Disability Payment or Child Disability Payment when they get the form. This form can then be used to let Social Security Scotland know that a person is terminally ill when applying for disability benefits. 

Social Security Scotland can request this from your healthcare provider if you ask them to when applying for the benefit.

Other available help

There may be other available help you can get if you have a terminal illness or if you have had a cancer diagnosis

Last modified on 20 April 2023

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