Getting financial help
Many people can give you advice on your financial situation and some charities and organisations offer grants.
Macmillan's cancer support specialists can offer advice to people with cancer, their family, and carers who need help to access benefits and other forms of financial support. They can look at your individual situation and find the best solutions for you. They can also help you fill in claim forms, which isn’t always an easy task to do on your own.
Some other cancer support organisations, hospitals and self-help groups also have benefits advisers. They can advise you on whether you may be eligible for any benefits or grants.
A social worker at the hospital may also be able to give you advice on sources of financial help. Your local Social Security office can give you information about benefits which you may be entitled to. Your local Citizens' Advice Bureau can also give you financial and legal advice; its number will be in your local phone book.
It may be helpful to contact a financial adviser. Financial advisers can assess your individual situation and recommend the best course of action. You can find a local financial adviser by referral from family or friends, looking in your phone book, or by searching online on the findanadviser.org or Unbiased websites.
Getting help from a welfare rights adviser
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The people mentioned in the case studies in this section got financial help after speaking to an experienced welfare rights adviser.
Welfare rights advisers can look at your individual situation and find the best solutions for you. They can also help you fill in claim forms, which isn’t always an easy task to do on your own.
To speak to an experienced welfare rights adviser for free, you can call the Macmillan Support Line.
If you would prefer to talk to someone face-to-face, come to one of our local benefits services, which we run in partnership with local organisations across the UK.
How to get the most from your meeting
The more information you can give to your welfare rights adviser, the more they will be able to help you. Whether you're meeting face-to-face or talking over the phone, try to have the following items with you:
any forms you need help filling in
proof of benefit payments, such as bank or Post Office® account statements or recent award letters
letters about your existing benefits, including letters about benefit applications that weren’t successful
details of any savings or investments, for example, recent statements
proof of expenses, such as mortgage payments, rent and council tax
your national insurance number
proof of earnings, such as recent payslips and details of any other income, for example, maintenance payments.
For health-related benefits, please also have ready:
a record of your diagnosis
details of your medical condition, treatment(s), and the names of any medication you’re currently taking
a diary of your care needs
contact details for your GP and any other health or social care professionals you see.
We give one-off grants to people with cancer. Contact our cancer support specialists for information on how to claim.
There are other grants available from a variety of sources, including occupational funds, utility companies (gas, electricity and water companies) and charities. For more information, contact a local welfare rights adviser or our cancer support specialists.
CLIC Sargent gives grants to help with immediate financial needs. Any family with a child or young person aged 24 or under who is receiving treatment for cancer or palliative care can apply. Applications need to be made through a CLIC Sargent social worker or healthcare professional. For more information, call 0300 330 0803.
Turn2us helps people find specific charities that may be able to offer financial assistance. You can apply through their website or call 0808 802 2000.
The Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need 2013/2014 gives details of all the trusts and organisations that provide financial support to people in the UK. It’s available from bookshops or local libraries.
You can see Karen describing her experience of the financial impact of a breast cancer diagnosis.
Loans and grants from the government and local councils
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The government used to run a scheme called the Social Fund, which was made up of non-repayable grants and some repayable loans. This was for things like household expenses or expenses arising from an emergency.
This scheme has now ended, and local councils are responsible for providing this type of support. Contact a welfare rights adviser for more information.
If you're self-employed, you can still apply for benefits. For example, if you’ve been paying national insurance, you may qualify for Employment and Support Allowance.
You may also qualify for other benefits depending on your personal circumstances, income, savings, care and mobility needs. Please contact a welfare rights adviser for advice.
We have a section about self-employment and cancer, which you may find helpful.