Money concerns, whether permanent or temporary, can be particularly stressful at a time when you feel less able to cope.
Many people with breast cancer don’t claim benefits because they’re unaware of what they’re entitled to, are too embarrassed to ask for help, or find the system complicated.
You and your rights
If you’re unable to work because of your breast cancer or your treatment for breast cancer, you may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). You can speak to your employer or Human Resources department about this. As the benefit system can be confusing, specialist help with financial issues is available for anyone with a diagnosis of cancer. Some hospitals have welfare advisers and social workers whom your specialist team can refer you to.
Help and advice is also available free from Macmillan Cancer Support and Citizens Advice. You can call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 or contact your local Citizens Advice (CA). They can tell you what local government assistance and benefits may be available to you, your family and carers, and can also help you fill out benefit claim forms.
You may also find the NHS Choices website useful for finding out more about your rights.
Macmillan produces a booklet called Help with the cost of cancer, which can be ordered by calling the support line (0808 808 00 00). This outlines the benefits, financial help and advice available to people affected by cancer, as well as information on benefits available for carers, help with housing costs, children’s needs and transport.
Not everyone with a diagnosis of cancer can claim benefits. Whether you’re entitled to certain benefits will depend on your individual circumstances – for example, people with secondary breast cancer may be able to have benefits fast tracked under the special rules criteria for terminally ill people.
Some insurance policies and employment benefit schemes may cover you for critical illness. If you are unsure, check with your insurance provider or HR department.
Depending on their circumstances your carer may be able to claim Carer’s Allowance if you have substantial caring needs. Contact a benefits adviser for further information.
Read more about finances and secondary breast cancer.
The Disability Living Allowance for adults under 65 has been replaced by the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Attendance Allowance applies to those over 65 years old.
For more information on this, see the ‘How to Claim’ section under the relevant allowance on the Gov.uk website.
The Blue Badge scheme provides parking concessions for people with severe mobility problems who have difficulty using public transport. It can help the holder park close to a destination, whether they are the driver or passenger.
In England and Wales you can apply for a blue badge through your local authority and online.
Your local Citizens Advice or Macmillan benefits adviser may be able to help you apply for the Blue Badge.
You may be able to apply for a temporary badge if you meet the criteria. People with secondary breast cancer may be eligible due to their symptoms such as fatigue or pain.
There are alternative badge schemes for people with restricted mobility who are in areas where the Blue Badge scheme doesn’t apply. In London, there’s a green badge for Camden, red for the City of London, purple for Kensington and Chelsea, and white for Westminster.