Benefits at the end of life

Most people who need care towards the end of their lives qualify for disability benefits. If you are under the age of 65 and live in England, Scotland or Wales, you can apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). If you are under 65 and live in Northern Ireland, you can apply for Disability Living Allowance (DLA). If you are over 65, you can apply for Attendance Allowance (AA), wherever you live in the UK.

As part of the welfare reforms, PIP is gradually replacing DLA in England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland DLA is still the main benefit for people aged under 65 and PIP has not been introduced. There are proposals to introduce PIP in Northern Ireland eventually though, so you should check with a benefits adviser or social worker about which benefit to apply for.

These benefits aren’t means-tested. Anyone who isn’t expected to live longer than six months because of an illness can apply for PIP/DLA or AA under special rules. Under these rules, the claim will be given priority and will be dealt with more quickly. You’ll also receive the benefit at the highest rate. People who are claiming under this special rule need to ask their doctor to complete a form.

Your district nurse, specialist nurse or social worker can tell you more about these benefits and whether you can apply for them. You can also get more information by visiting the Department for Work and Pensions website. If you live in Northern Ireland, you should contact your nearest Social Security Agency Office for advice on benefits.

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Other financial help

Some charities and organisations offer grants to people with cancer to help with financial problems.