Benefits 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.

Back to Financial information for people whose cancer can't be cured

Other financial help

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