You will almost certainly have extra costs while your child is being treated for cancer. We know parents find this a worry, especially if you also have to reduce your work hours to care for your child. It may be a comfort to know that financial help is available in the form of benefits, allowances and grants.
Filling in forms
Claiming benefits and allowances involves lots of forms. Parents often say they simply can’t cope with this in the early weeks after their child is diagnosed, but it’s important to claim as soon as possible because some payments can’t be backdated. Don’t worry – your CLIC Sargent Social Worker can help you fill in forms and put you in touch with specialist advice and support.
For a detailed review of what you’re entitled to, call CLIC Sargent on 0300 330 0803 and we will put you in touch with one of our specialist benefits advisors.
When you’re eating meals at the hospital, paying for parking and so on your money gets eaten up fairly soon. [To go into a quote bubble]
Some of the assistance you may be entitled to:
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
This is a benefit for children or young people who have a serious illness or disability. Your child has to have increased care needs because of their illness or disability to be eligible.
If your child receives the middle or high rate of the care component of DLA and you earn less than a set amount per week, you may also be able to claim this allowance.
Child Tax Credit
If your child is awarded the highest rate care component of DLA, you will be entitled to the severe disability element of Child Tax Credit.
Working Tax Credit
If you and/or your partner have to reduce your working hours you may be entitled to Working Tax Credit, or may be entitled to more if you already receive it.
Council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance
If you are struggling to pay council tax and/or rent, you may be entitled to Council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance . They are means tested, so the amount you receive is based on your earnings and your savings.
Employment Support Allowance or Statutory Sick Pay
If you need to take time off work due to illness or disability you may be entitled to Employment Support Allowance or Statutory Sick Pay from your employer. For all of the above, it’s important to tell the tax office about any changes to your circumstances as soon possible, to make sure you’re getting the right amount.
If you are on a low income and claim benefits, your child’s hospital may help you with travel costs when you travel with your child.
Certain energy providers offer income-based grants to clear gas or electricity arrears or help with other household costs. Certain water company customers may also be entitled to help with water rates. Check with your providers.
Check whether you have payment protection on your mortgage. Ask your mortgage provider if you qualify now that your child is ill.
Check if your life insurance policy includes serious illness cover and, if so, whether this covers your children. You may be able to make a claim.
Some charities offer grants to parents who have a child with cancer, covering everything from travel expenses to new washing machines. CLIC Sargent offers care grants [link to financial support page] (which aren’t means-tested) to cover extra expenses after your child has been diagnosed. Your social worker can apply for one of these for you.
For more information about state benefits and allowances, go to www.direct.gov.uk.