Cancer and Finances
As well as affecting your physical and emotional health, a cancer diagnosis can cause money worries too. You may have to take time off sick, work reduced hours or stop working altogether. You might also have to manage extra costs such as transport to and from hospital appointments or hospital parking fees.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to claim government benefits or other types of support to ease the pressure on your finances.
Taking control of your finances after a cancer diagnosis
What kind of financial support is out there?
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
If you’re employed you may be able to get sick pay from your employer.
If you are entitled to company sick pay as part of your employment package, your employer will pay you sick pay as set out in your contract. If you do not have company sick pay, or it has ended, you may then be eligible to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
If you are self-employed you won’t be able to get Statutory Sick Pay, but you can apply for other benefits if you’re unable to work or have a reduced income.
Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
If you are under State Pension age, out of work or working under 16 hours a week on average and available to start work, you may be able to claim Job Seekers Allowance (JSA).
You will need to show that you are making reasonable efforts to find work and must be available to begin working at short notice. You can only claim JSA for 182 days (around 6 months).
If your condition prevents you from being able to work, you would not be eligible for JSA but may be able to apply for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) instead.
Employment and Support
You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if your condition affects how much you can work. You can apply whether you’re in or out of work, although there are certain conditions around the number of hours you can work and how much you can earn whilst claiming.
How much you get will depend on what stage your application is at, as well as things like your age and whether you’re able to get back into work.
You can’t receive Employment and Support Allowance at the same time as Statutory Sick Pay, but you can apply for ESA up to three months before your SSP is due to end. Once your SSP ends you will start to receive ESA in its place.
Universal Credit pays towards your housing and living costs if you are on a low income or not in work. It has replaced Tax Credits, Income Support and Housing Benefit.
If you meet all the criteria below you could be eligible for Universal Credit:
Unable to work or on a low income
Under state pension age
Your household has less than £16,000 in savings
The amount you receive is made up of a standard allowance plus any additional amounts you may be entitled to because you:
Have a health condition that prevents you from working
Need help paying your rent
Any income or savings you have can affect how much you get.
Personal Independent Payment (PIP)
You can apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – the replacement for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – to help you with some of the extra costs associated with long-term health conditions or disabilities.
You must be under state pension age and will need to explain how your condition has significantly impacted on your daily living and/or mobility for a minimum of 3 months and that you expect it to continue for at least 9 months. You can apply for PIP even if you are still working and/or being paid.
The amount you could receive will vary depending on how your condition affects you. You will be asked by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to attend an assessment which will be used to work out what you’re entitled to.
If you are above state pension age you can apply for Attendance Allowance which helps with the extra costs you may incur if your health condition or disability is severe enough that you need someone to help look after you.
How much you get depends on the level of care that you need. The amount you receive isn’t affected by any income or savings you have, and you can still apply even if you don’t have someone caring for you.
Pension Credit is a benefit for people of State Pension age who are on a low income. It is designed to top up your weekly income if it falls below a certain amount.
You may be able to claim additional credit if you have previously paid into a pension scheme or are severely disabled, a carer, or have responsibility for a child or young person.