Understanding benefits

We know cancer costs. Extra payments for things like travel, plus potentially losing your income, can hit your finances hard. That’s why it’s essential to get the support you’re entitled to. Working out the benefits system isn't always easy, but it’s important not to lose out on money that could help you.

Understanding benefits

Benefits are payments made by the government to people on a low income that could help take the pressure off. This is even more important if you can’t work or have had to reduce your hours. 

We know that the benefits system can be confusing. This section should give you a clearer understanding of which benefits and allowances could help you.

The benefits system is designed to offer financial support to people who:

  • are ill or have a health condition or disability
  • need help while finding work, or have low incomes. 

Benefits for people with a health need

You may not think of yourself as having a disability. But as someone with cancer you automatically meet the legal definition of ‘disabled’ from the day you are diagnosed. 

You don’t have to accept the word ‘disability’ as a label, but it will help open doors to more support for you and the people who care for you, such as your parents or partner. 

Some of these benefits will take your income and savings into account but speak to a welfare adviser if you aren’t sure about anything. 

Get familiar with benefits for people with health conditions or a disability.

Benefits for people with low incomes or looking for work

Also known as ‘means-tested’ benefits, what you are entitled to will depend on your income and savings. You may already know about some of these such as Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support. 

However, the system is currently changing. Six of the main benefits are gradually being replaced by a new single benefit called Universal Credit. 

Universal Credit is a monthly payment for people aged 16 to 64 who are looking for work or on a low income. Extra funds are available for people with a health condition or caring responsibilities, which means parents and carers can also apply.  

Get support if you are out of work or on a low income. 

Grants and one-off payments

CLIC Sargent recognises that a bit of cash can make a big difference to the sudden change in your life. Our grant is designed to cover those extra expenses after a diagnosis.

There are also grants, loans and payments available for managing unforeseen expenses if you have a low income, or if you need to make adjustments because of your illness. 

Apply for a CLIC Sargent grant and find out if you can get further support.

Help with health costs

There are a range of charges that you may be able to get help with if you are on a low income. They don’t have to be caused by your illness but may well be related, such as dental treatment and wigs.

Check out the help available.

Help with travel costs

People tell us that travelling for treatment and parking charges can really add up. 

See if these schemes could help ease the pressure. 

Help with childcare

If you're a parent, childcare costs can be even more difficult to meet when you are having treatment for cancer. 

See what help is available for you.

Support for students

Student life doesn’t come cheap, especially if you live away from home.

Whether you’re continuing to study or need to put it on hold, find out what support you could get.

If you aren't eligible for support

If you have a residence permit that allows you to live in the UK, you may not be able to claim most benefits. The NRPF Network has a free advice line on 0207 527 7121, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Updated July 2017, next review due 2018.