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Being diagnosed with a terminal illness

If you have a terminal illness or progressive disease and are not expected to live for longer than six months, 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:

Who can get benefit under the special rules?

You can make a claim under the special rules if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and are not reasonably expected to live for more than 6 months. This could be due to having a progressive condition such as cancer, lung disease or heart failure. 

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 a form called a DS1500.
Step 2

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

Step 3GP or consultant issues form DS1500 which is then sent to the relevant DWP office. 
Step 4You should expect a decision within two weeks (5 working days for New Style Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit).  It may take a little longer if you are claiming Personal Independence Payment.
Step 5If the Special Rules are satisfied then a higher rate benefit is awarded. See "How much will I get" below for details.
Step 6If the Special Rules are not satisfied then your claim(s) will be considered under normal benefit rules.

Form DS1500

You must obtain and submit a DS1500 medical report to the office dealing with your claim.  Please ask your GP, consultant or specialist for a DS1500 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 Medical Reports - a Guide to Completion" document.    

If you don't have a DS1500 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 a DS1500 report being issued to you as you may lose money. Please also note that the DS1500 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.

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

Contact details

Welfare Rights Team

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