ENTITLEMENT & BENEFIT ADVICE
Support for dealing with your finances
The financial impact of a cancer diagnosis can add unnecessary stress and worry at a time when you should be focusing on their treatment and recovery.
We know that income goes down and expenditure rises at a time when money worries should be the last thing on your mind. The benefits system can sometimes be complex and difficult to understand. With a cancer diagnosis, you may not be aware of the financial help your family are eligible for. Here at Mummy’s Star, we can help you navigate some of this.
Frequently asked questions
I am worried about money, who can I talk to?
Get professional advice
Local Cancer centres often have a free service available for you to speak to someone about your finances, be that managing a budget better, benefits advice or debt management. Sometimes discussing your situation with a professional can really help to gain some perspective and make it all seem a little bit more manageable.
It is also worth finding out if your local government offers a Welfare Rights Service or Citizens Advice Bureau.
Your Mummy’s Star Information and Support Worker can help you find your local service if you need help.
Set a Budget
Sometimes having a proper look at your spending and budget can prove really useful, this online form is a good starting point. finance.macmillan.org.uk/budget-calculator
You might find there are places you can cut costs that you haven’t considered or assess the real impact of your situation. A budget will also help if you need to speak to an advisor about benefits or debt management.
MacMillan Information and Support Centres
Macmillan Cancer Support has lots of guidance and information about benefits and financial matters. You can find out more by calling them on 0800 808 00 00 or going online to macmillan.org.uk. If you would prefer to speak to someone in person, you can find your nearest Macmillan benefits advisor at macmillan.org.uk/in-your-area/choose-location.html
I don’t feel like a carer and I'm not sure if I like the idea of being on benefits?
Many people feel this way. It’s sometimes difficult to accept support and many of us feel a sense of pride about not claiming benefits.
However, the day someone is diagnosed with cancer they automatically meet the disability definition under the Equality Act 2010, this also covers you as their carer. This is to help and protect you both. Accepting this in purely definitive terms can give you access to a number of benefits, support and legal rights that technically class cancer as a disability and protect their carers too.
Which benefits can I claim?
Claiming different benefits can be a minefield, especially when you add in maternity/ paternity pay and leave. For more details about what Mum might be able to claim please see the Get Support – For Me section of our website.
It’s always best to speak to a specialist benefits advisor. Your local cancer care centre may have someone you can talk to and you can contact us if you need help to fond someone local to you. Below are a couple of suggestions:
If you care for someone with cancer for more than 35 hours per week you can (with their permission) claim carers allowance. Many people, partners especially, may not see themselves as carers. But being a carer can include sitting at appointments, making meals and even just being in the house while they are sleeping in case they need your support (including overnight)
There are special rules to consider though especially regarding your income. The person you care for must also be claiming other benefits to be eligible. Please visit gov.uk/carers-allowance for more information.
Tax credits/ Universal credit
It’s worth checking that your tax credits office is up to date on the changes to your circumstances. If they are claiming PIP, they may be eligible for the disabled worker/ severe disability element of working tax credits. This might also mean you can get more of the childcare element of working tax credits too. gov.uk/working-tax-credit/overview
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction/Support
If you are on a low income and pay rent, you may be able to apply for housing benefit. This can pay all or part of your rent. Please follow the link for more information or get in touch with your local council. https://www.gov.uk/housing-benefit/overview
As with housing benefit, you may be able to claim a reduction in your council tax. Please follow the link for more information. gov.uk/apply-council-tax-reduction
You cannot claim these benefits if you have savings over £16,000
Please contact us if you need any help.