Many people who have secondary cancer give up work, because they are no longer able to carry on physically or mentally. I have also resigned for the same reason and find I have the time and space in my head to look after myself a bit better. The drawback of course is that I am no longer earning any money 😦
All is not lost though as there is financial help and other means of support available from the government, local council, NHS, charities and so on.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Up to £140 per week
PIP is there to help with additional costs of living with a long-term illness or disability. As its name suggests it is to give some independence to the person receiving it. It is not means tested and you can receive it whether you are working or not. It’s for 3 years, after which I think it is reassessed.
When claiming (https://www.gov.uk/pip/how-to-claim ) there are lots of tricky questions and a DS1500 form is required to apply under special rules. Special rules mean your claim will be fast tracked if you are terminally ill.
Marie Curie were very helpful and have submitted the claim on my behalf. I see a doctor there, who knows my condition and they are affiliated (in some way) with the hospital I go to so they have access to my medical records. 2 weeks after the claim I have received the first installment.
Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
Up to £100 per week
If you are employed but unable to work – at the minimum – you receive Statuary Sick Pay for up to 28 weeks. Once the 28 weeks are up (or you are no longer working, or working reduced hours), you can apply for ESA.
There are 2 types: means tested and contribution based. I claimed contribution based, which means that the family income is not taken into account.
Similar to the PIP, special rules will apply for people with terminal illness.
Lump sum and/or monthly payments
If you have ever paid into a pension fund, you can apply for early release of your pension under the ill-health act. Even if it was for a few years, it can be a few hundred pounds a month or possibly an additional lump sum payment.
Housing and Council Tax Benefit
If you applied for PIP, ESA and release of your pension but the family income is still not enough to get by, you can claim housing and council tax benefit from your local council.
Consultations, alternative or complementary therapies are quite costly. For many of us the only way to be able to afford it is with a help of fundraising.
GoFundMe at https://uk.gofundme.com/ is a great way to start the campaign.
My children have organised this for me and it has been very successful. Everyone has been very generous and supportive.
You can also apply for the Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass from your local council. I live in London and this gives me free travel on the buses and the underground after 9:30 AM.
Local Sport Centre
Many sport centres also have a disabled membership at low cost (around £10 per month). You will need proof that you live in the borough and that you receive PIP.
There are many charities that offer free or low cost complimentary therapies (massage, reflexology, reiki), access to the gym, excercise classes, residential or non-residential courses, support groups, hair dressing, make-up and so on.
I found the following ones great: Breast Cancer Care, Breast Cancer Haven, Marie Curie and Penny Brohn.
Up to £600 worth
If you had chemotherapy and as a result of it lost your hair, the NHS will cover the cost of a wig (around £100, maybe a bit more).
If you had a mastectomy, the NHS will provide you with prosthesis. I requested swimming ones too 🙂 They are quite expensive, around £100 to £150 each.