Work and money when you care for someone with cancer and dementia

Caring for someone with dementia and cancer can have an impact on your finances. You may have stopped working or reduced your hours. Cancer and dementia can also bring extra costs, such as travelling to hospital or higher heating bills. Both you and the person you care for may be able to get benefits to help with these costs, such as Employment and Support Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Carer’s Allowance.

Some life insurance policies pay out when someone is diagnosed with cancer. You may be covered for things like loss of income, medical treatment or mortgage payments. Check your policies and those of the person you care for.

If you are having problems paying your rent, you may be able to get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to help. If you are having problems paying your mortgage, let your mortgage lender know as soon as you can. They may be able to stop payments for a while, extend the mortgage term or suggest you pay the interest only.

Our financial guides and welfare rights advisors can help you understand your options. Call them on 0808 808 00 00.

Working and caring

This may be a difficult time financially. You may have given up work or work part-time so you can be at home.

Finding a balance between work and caring can be difficult, but it is not impossible.

We have lots of information about working while caring for someone with cancer. There is helpful advice on flexible working, getting support at work and taking about cancer in the workplace. There are also videos of carers talking about their experiences of working while caring.

Remember you can ask your local social services for a carer’s assessment. This is a chance to talk about any support that would help you balance work and caring, as well as other issues.


Financial helps and benefits

Cancer often means extra costs for you and the person you care for. This can include paying for travel to hospital, or increased food or heating bills. If you have to give up work or reduce your hours, your income may drop.

You and the person you care for may be eligible for benefits. A range of benefits are available for full-time carers and people who are still working.

You can call our welfare rights advisers on 0808 808 00 00 to find out more about which benefits you may be able to get.

Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurses can also give financial advice to people affected by dementia. Call them on 0800 888 6678.

Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is a weekly benefit for people who look after someone with a lot of care needs. It is the main benefit for carers.

If there is more than one carer looking after the person, the main carer should apply. Only one person can get Carer’s Allowance.

Carer’s Credit

Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit for carers of working age. It helps you build up qualifying years for the State Pension while you are not working.

Other benefits

You and the person you care for may be able to get some other benefits. These could include the following:

  • Universal Credit, if either of you have a low income or are looking for work.
  • Employment and Support Allowance for the person you care for, if they are unable to work because of illness.
  • Personal Independence Payment for the person you care for if they are aged 16 to 64, or Attendance Allowance if they are aged 65 or above. They may be able to claim if they have problems looking after themselves or moving around. People who are not expected to live longer than six months can make a claim under the special rules for these disability benefits. This means they will receive payments sooner.

You may also be able to get help with travel costs and may be eligible for an income tax refund.

Dementia UK has a leaflet called Sources of support and advice. It explains the tax exemptions and financial sources of support available to people looking after someone with dementia.

Grants

You may be able to get some financial help from charities. Macmillan provides small, mostly one-off grants, to help people with the extra costs that cancer can cause. They are for people who have a low level of income and savings.

If you need things like extra clothing, help paying heating bills or even a relaxing break, you may be able to get a Macmillan Grant.

Insurance

Some life insurance policies pay out when someone is diagnosed with cancer. Read through your policies, and those of the person you care for. You may find that you are covered for loss of income, medical treatment, credit cards, mortgage payments or other expenses.

Macmillan has financial guides who can help you understand your insurance policies. Call 0808 808 00 00 to speak with one.

Help with your rent or mortgage

If you are having difficulty paying your rent, you may be able to get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. Citizens Advice can give you advice and information about renting.

If you are having difficulty paying your mortgage, contact your mortgage lender as soon as possible and explain what has happened. They may agree to suspend payments for a while to give you time to sort your finances out, or suggest that you pay only the interest on the loan for a while. Another solution is to extend the term of the mortgage so that you have less to pay each month.

More information

We have more information about these benefits and ways to get financial support. Or you can call our financial guides for more guidance and support. Call us on 0808 808 00 00. We have a benefits calculator to help you find out what you might be entitled to. We also have a budget planner to help you work out a weekly or monthly budget.

Back to Dementia and cancer

Advanced cancer and dementia

If it is not possible to control the cancer, the person you care for will be able to have treatments to manage any symptoms.