Financial help when caring

When you are looking after someone with cancer, it can affect your finances.

You may be able to get Carer’s Allowance. This is a benefit for people who look after someone with a lot of care needs. It is the main benefit for carers.

If you do not qualify for Carer’s Allowance, you may be able to get Carer’s Credit. This helps to protect your right to a State Pension later in life if you work less because you are caring.

You or the person you care for may be able to get other benefits. If the person you care for has a low income, they may be able to claim a refund on their travel costs for getting to and from hospital.

It is worth checking whether you can get:

  • an income tax refund – you may get this if you give up work, or if your income decreases
  • help from charities – Macmillan offers one-off grants
  • a payment from an insurance policy – the person you care for may have a life insurance policy that pays out after a cancer diagnosis.

Benefits and financial support

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. Your income may fall if you have to give up work or reduce your hours.

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 what benefits you may be able to get.

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.

If you get Carer’s Credit you do not get any actual money, but it protects your right to a State Pension later in life.

Other benefits

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

  • 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 with 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 claim for these disability benefits. This means they will receive payments sooner.

We have more information about benefits or you can call our welfare rights advisers on 0808 808 00 00 to find out more.

If your caring role ends

If your caring role ends, it is important to let the benefits service know. This will help avoid problems later. If you have a low income once your carer’s benefits stop, you may be able to claim other benefits.

To let the benefits service know:

  • If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, contact the Carer’s Allowance Unit. Visit gov.uk or call 0345 608 4321.
  • If you live in Northern Ireland, contact the Disability and Carers Service on 0300 123 3356.


Help with travel costs

If the person you care for claims certain benefits or has a low income, they may be able to claim a refund on their travel costs for getting to and from hospital. This can include:

  • bus or train fares
  • some petrol costs
  • taxi fares (in some situations).

They should speak to reception staff at the hospital for more information.

It is also worth checking at the hospital if they offer any parking discounts to people having cancer treatment and their carers.

The person you care for may be entitled to a Blue Badge for their car, which you can use when you are taking them out. The Blue Badge allows you to park in disabled parking spaces. To apply for a badge in England, Scotland or Wales, visit gov.uk or contact your local council. In Northern Ireland, apply online at nidirect.gov.uk or call 0300 200 7818.

If the person you care for gets certain disability benefits, they may be able to get free or discounted road tax. The vehicle could either be registered in their name or your name as their nominated driver. If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you can find out more by calling the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) on 0300 790 6806. If you live in Northern Ireland, call the Driver and Vehicle Agency on 0300 200 7861.


Income tax refund

You may be able to get a tax refund if you give up work, or if your income decreases. It is also worth checking whether you are still paying the correct amount of tax if your situation changes.

Your employer may be able to organise this. Or you can contact Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC).


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.

For more information, please call us or visit macmillan.org.uk/grants


Insurance

Some life insurance policies pay out when someone is diagnosed with cancer. Have a look 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. You can speak to them by calling 0808 808 00 00.


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.

Our financial guides will be able to talk to you about housing costs.

Back to Looking after someone with cancer

Carer's Allowance

If you are caring for someone with cancer, you may be able to get financial help.

Carer's Credit

Carer’s Credit may help you to build up your entitlement to State Pension if you are caring for someone with cancer.

Bereavement benefits

Bereavement benefits can be paid to someone whose husband, wife or civil partner has died.