If you’re considering going back to work after treatment, it’s important to think about the following:
- The option of full-time or part-time work. Look at how much income you need to cover your monthly outgoings.
- You may have had your mortgage, bank loan or credit agreement paid by an insurance policy while you were ill. This will end when you go back to work, so remember to include it in your calculations.
- If you’ve been out of work for a long time, you may have financial problems and possibly be in debt. StepChange Debt Charity can give you advice. We also have information about Managing your debt, which you may find useful. You can also order this information as a booklet from our be.Macmillan website
- You can keep claiming some benefits even when you go back to work, but others will stop. For example, you might still be able to receive Personal Independence Payment while working, but Employment and Support Allowance could be affected.
- Universal Credit is a ‘top-up benefit’ for people on low income, especially for part-time workers.
- Help is available for self-employed people or people who want to be self-employed – contact your nearest Citizens Advice. We have a booklet for people who are self-employed, which you can order for free from be.Macmillan.
- You can continue to accrue annual leave while on sick leave. You may wish to take some annual leave instead of sick leave before returning to work. You should discuss this with your employer.
- Think about whether you have income from occupational pensions, private pensions or life assurance. For example, you might be able to freeze, transfer or cash in a pension.
- It may help to contact an independent financial adviser. There are organisations that can help with this and you can search for them on our website.
- It may help to contact Macmillan’s Financial Guidance Service, which can help you understand the options available to you with your personal finances.
If you've been claiming benefits
If you want to go back to work after some time away and you've been claiming benefits, there are options you’ll need to consider. Remember there are non-financial factors that may affect your decision.
Many issues are taken into account when assessing benefits, so it’s only possible to give general information here. Each person’s entitlement has conditions specific to their situation, taking into account age, savings, income, hours worked, number of family members, childcare costs and housing costs.
It’s possible to be eligible for more than one benefit at the same time, but some benefits can’t be paid together.
It’s essential that you take advice from an experienced benefits adviser. You could call one of our cancer support specialists on 0808 808 00 00 or Citizens Advice. You can also check whether there’s a benefits adviser in the social work department at your hospital.
You should check your entitlement to benefits and tax credits to work out whether your income would be higher with these or by going back to work.
You’ll need to know:
- whether you’d be better off financially
- whether savings affect your eligibility for certain benefits
- how much you’d need to earn to compensate for the loss of benefits you may be receiving at the moment
- how the number of hours you work will affect your eligibility for certain benefits
- how claiming a different benefit would affect your situation
- who should make the claim for any benefit if you’re living with a partner – there could be occasions when it’s beneficial for one partner rather than the other to claim.
Benefits affected if you go back to work
Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance can be paid whether or not you’re working.
Eligibility for these allowances depends on your care needs (for the care component) and your inability to walk (for the mobility component). For example, if your walking improves and/or you need less help with personal care, this could affect your entitlement to Personal Independence Payment.
The Department for Work and Pensions may re-assess the rate you’re paid.
The higher rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance allows you an exemption from road tax and entitles you to a Blue Badge parking concession. You can also use the higher rate of the component to buy or lease a car under the Motability Scheme.
If you receive Employment and Support Allowance, this will stop if you go back to work. It’s important to review your situation after a few weeks. If you’re finding it difficult to continue to work, you may re-qualify for Employment and Support Allowance at the same rate and on the same basis as before, if you make a new claim within 12 weeks.