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

As part of the welfare reforms, PIP has gradually been replacing DLA in England, Scotland and Wales since April 2013. If you live in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to check with your benefits adviser or social worker whether you should claim DLA or PIP.

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.


Other financial help for people

Grants

You may be able to claim grants from other organisations or charities. Macmillan gives grants and benefits advice to people with cancer. You can call our support line for free. You can also read our information about financial support.

Your union or professional organisation, if you belong to one, may be able to give you financial help or advice. In some professions, there may be special funds that can help with cash grants and sometimes holidays. Details are listed in the directory 'A guide to grants for individuals in need', which is available in most public libraries.

Prescriptions

These are free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In England, people with cancer can also get free prescriptions, but you need to apply for an exemption certificate by collecting an FP92A form from your GP surgery or oncology clinic.


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.


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.