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As part of your financial planning| you should consider all of the things you can do to maximise your income.
If you’re living with cancer, you may need time off work to attend appointments, receive and recover from treatment, cope with emotional stress and deal with side effects, such as tiredness|. Carers may need time off work too. Your income may drop as a result, but everyone has certain rights at work so your earnings won’t necessarily stop completely.
If you’re an employee and off work sick, you can usually get Statutory Sick Pay| for up to 28 weeks.
Many employers run their own occupational (company) sick pay scheme with more generous payments and terms than the statutory minimum. Check your employment contract or speak to your human resources (HR) department to see if your employer has such a scheme.
If you are the director of your own company, you can pay yourself Statutory Sick Pay. Please contact a benefits adviser| for advice.
By law, you have the right to ‘reasonable’ time off work to deal with particular situations affecting someone who depends on you, such as your partner, child or parent. What counts as a reasonable amount of time will depend on the individual circumstances, and your employer doesn't have to pay you.
If you’ve been with your current employer for at least six months, you have the right to ask for flexible working so that you can care for your partner, relative or someone else who lives with you and depends on you. Your employer must consider your request, but can refuse if they have good business reasons for doing so. See our section on your legal rights as a carer in paid work| for more information.
Having cancer automatically counts as a disability from the time of diagnosis under the Equality Act 2010. This protection from discrimination continues even when there is no longer any evidence of the cancer.
Your employer must make reasonable adjustments so that you’re not at a disadvantage compared with other employees. Adjustments could include working from home or flexible hours.
People in Northern Ireland are covered by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
If your earnings fall or stop part way through the tax year, you may have paid too much income tax on your earnings, savings or other income. If this is the case, you may be able to claim a tax rebate, which is a refund of any tax you’ve overpaid. You don’t have to wait until the end of the tax year to do this.
To check if you are due a tax rebate, contact HM Revenue & Customs|.
If you have problems making a tax claim and your income is low, you can request free help from Tax Aid| or, if you are aged 60 or older, TaxHelp for Older People|.
There are many types of state benefits|. Some give financial help if your income is low, you’re ill or have a disability, or if you’re caring for someone.
If you're affected by cancer, you're likely to be eligible for at least some of these benefits, which can be an important boost to your household income. You don't have to be on a low income to qualify for such benefits as Attendance Allowance| or Disability Living Allowance| (Personal Independence Payment| from April 2013).
If you’re affected by cancer, you’re likely to be eligible for at least some of these benefits, which can be an important boost to your household income.
You may have savings| set aside to cover the unexpected. If your income is affected by cancer, now may be a good time to draw on those savings to either replace lost income or meet extra expenses.
Where you have substantial savings and investments, it may be possible to rearrange them so that they produce a steady income if needed.
Being diagnosed with cancer or having time off work as a result may mean you can make a claim if you have health insurance (for example, critical illness cover, mortgage payment protection insurance or income protection insurance). This could be insurance you have taken out yourself or cover provided through your employer.
Some types of insurance pay out income or meet a particular expense, such as your mortgage or other loan repayments. Others pay out a lump sum.
Check your contract of employment or speak to your human resources (HR) department to find out if there is any insurance through work.
For guidance on investing an insurance payout, contact an independent financial adviser (IFA).
You can’t draw a State Pension until you reach State Pension age, which is currently 65 for men and between 61 and 65 for women, depending on when you were born.
You may be able to draw a pension early from a current or previous employer’s occupational pension scheme or any personal pensions. The earliest age is usually 55 but can be earlier in case of permanent ill health. A pension from an employer’s scheme may be increased because of ill health if you are living with cancer.
If you’re aged at least 60 and the value of your pension savings is low, you may be able to take the entire amount as a cash lump sum. We have more information about pensions|, which you might find helpful.
If you’re affected by cancer, you may be eligible for a grant from Macmillan or other organisations. These don’t need to be repaid.
Macmillan grants| are one-off payments for adults, young people or children with cancer, to cover a wide variety of practical needs.
Grants are also available from other organisations, including professional or occupational bodies, religious groups and regionally based groups and charities.
To find other charities that may be able to help, try searching the Charity Commission Register| (England and Wales).
The website Turn 2 us| is a good place to search for grants from both voluntary bodies and the state.
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.
Content last reviewed: 1 May 2012
Next planned review: 2013
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
To speak to a financial guide, call free (Monday to Thursday 9am-5pm, Friday 9am-4.30pm).
Talk to a benefits adviser in your area, find out if you are eligible for benefits or grants or ask Macmillan about money worries.
If you have any questions about Macmillan we would love to hear from you| .
You can also follow us| on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or YouTube.
© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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