Financial help

You or your family may have concerns about income, additional costs or managing your finances as you near the end of your life. You are likely to be entitled to benefits in the last months of your life to help with your care. Your doctor, nurse or social worker can let you know how to apply for these. You may also be entitled to free prescriptions, so you can ask them about that too. The names of the benefits and how much you might receive may vary between different countries in the UK. There have also been changes to the welfare benefits system which may affect which benefits you can claim.

Some charities and other organisations provide grants to help with costs at the end of life. A financial adviser can provide advice on managing your financial arrangements. You can call our free support line to speak to one of our financial guides. Your union or professional organisation may also be able to help.

Benefits for people at the end of life

Most people who need care towards the end of their lives qualify for disability benefits. These include:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA), if under the age of 65
  • Attendance Allowance (AA), if aged 65 or over.

In England, Scotland and Wales, PIP has replaced DLA for new claimants of working age.

If you live in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to check with a benefits adviser or social worker whether you should claim DLA or PIP. If you are over 65, you can apply for AA wherever you live in the UK.

These benefits aren’t means-tested.

If you are terminally ill and not expected to live for longer than six months, you can apply for these benefits under the ‘special rules’. Your claim will be dealt with quickly and you’ll receive the benefit at the highest rate. All special rules claims for AA, PIP and DLA are reviewed after three years. If you are claiming under these special rules you need to ask your 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.

Marie Curie has more information about the special rules and benefits in its booklet Boosting your income and on its website at mariecurie.org.uk/benefits

You can also call Macmillan on 0808 808 00 00 to speak with one of our welfare rights advisers. They can give you advice about claiming benefits and help you with filling in claim forms. Depending on where you live, you may be able to visit a local Macmillan welfare rights adviser – visit In Your Area to check.

You can also get more information and apply for certain benefits by visiting:

If you live in Northern Ireland, you can contact your nearest Social Security Agency Office or Jobs and Benefits office for advice on benefits.


Other financial help for people

Grants

You may be able to claim grants from a variety of sources. These include occupational funds, utility companies (gas, electricity and water companies) and charities.

Macmillan give small one-off grants to help people meet expenses that have arisen from, or are associated with, their cancer. You have to apply for a Macmillan grant through a health or social care professional.

For more information, contact Macmillan and speak to a welfare rights adviser or a cancer support specialist. You can call our support line for free on 0808 808 00 00. The Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need gives details of all the trusts and organisations that provide financial support to people in the UK. It’s available from bookshops or public libraries.

Prescriptions

These are free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In England, people with cancer and some long-term conditions can also get free prescriptions. You need to apply for an exemption certificate by collecting an FP92A form from your GP surgery or specialist.


Other financial things to think about

Bank accounts

These are frozen at the time of death and can’t be used, so you may want to consider putting bank accounts into joint names.

Pension schemes

Some private or occupational pension schemes won’t pay out any benefits to partners if the owner of the pension scheme wasn’t married. This means that the pension fund is lost.

A financial adviser may be able to give you advice in these situations. You can contact a financial adviser through the Personal Finance Society or Unbiased.co.uk.


Working together to create information for you

We worked with Marie Curie Cancer Care to write our End of life information.

Thank you to all of the people affected by cancer who reviewed what you're reading and have helped our information to develop.

You could help us too when you join our Cancer Voices Network.

Back to Dealing with the news

Coping with the news

Hearing that you may be reaching the end of your life can be very difficult, but family, friends and professionals can support you.

Sorting things out

When people are told they may be nearing their life, many find they have unfinished business to sort out.