Benefits if you have a disability or advanced cancer

There is financial support available if you have a disability or your cancer is advanced.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) can help you with extra costs. You need to have a disability or long term physical or mental health condition to get it.

You can get PIP if you:

  • are between 16 and the State Pension age
  • have a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability
  • have had difficulties with daily living or moving around
  • expect the difficulties to last for at least 12 months from when they started

If you live in Scotland, you need to apply for Adult Disability Payment (ADP) instead.

You also need to:

  • have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the last 3 years
  • live in one of these countries when you apply

If you've recently come back from living in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you might get PIP sooner.

If you’ve reached State Pension Age, you can apply for Attendance Allowance instead.

You can't get PIP and Armed Forces Independence Payment together.

In Northern Ireland the criteria to qualify for PIP is slightly different.

The process of getting PIP is much quicker if you’re terminally ill. You will automatically qualify for PIP if your doctor or a medical professional thinks that you might have less than 12 months to live.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults

Disability living allowance (DLA) is a payment for people who have mobility problems or need personal care.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has been replacing DLA for disabled people. For people born on or before 8 April 1948, DLA will continue for as long as they qualify for it. For people born after 8 April 1948, DLA will end. You will be told when it will stop. You will continue to get it until that date.

You can apply for DLA for children under 16 living in England or Wales. You can no longer make a new application for DLA if you are 16 or over.

If you live in Scotland, you can apply for Child Disability Payment.

You can apply instead for:

  • PIP if you're 16 or older, below State Pension age and live in England or Wales
  • Attendance Allowance if you're State Pension age or older and you're not getting DLA
  • Adult Disability Payment if you live in Scotland and are below State Pension age

Attendance Allowance (AA)

Attendance Allowance is a payment that helps with extra costs when you have a disability that needs someone to help look after you.

You need to:

  • have a physical or mental disability, or both
  • have a disability severe enough for you to need someone to help look after you or supervise you
  • be in need of help for at least 6 months (unless you’re terminally ill)
  • be of State Pension Age or older

You don’t need a carer in order to qualify. If you do have a carer, they can apply for Carers Allowance depending on how much care you need.

Special rules

If a medical professional has said you might have 12 months or less to live, you may be able to get the below benefits more quickly and at a higher rate. The medical professional has to complete a SR1 form. The benefits include:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Universal Credit

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) is a payment that can help you with costs if your job caused you to have a disease or accident. An example of a cancer that can be caused by certain jobs is mesothelioma, which can be caused by asbestos.


To get Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB), you need to have been involved in an accident or event while you:

  • were employed
  • were taking part in an approved work training scheme or course
  • were in England, Scotland or Wales

There might be some exceptions. Contact your regional Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit Centre for more information.

In Northern Ireland, the process is slightly different.


To get Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB), your disease must have been caused by:

  • the job you were employed in
  • an approved employment training scheme or course you were doing

Where to get advice

You can get help and advice on benefits from the following people:

  • a hospital or community social worker - they can give you advice on benefits and help you deal with debts
  • a welfare rights adviser at a hospital
  • Citizens Advice - their advisers can help with filling out benefit forms
  • The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) provide its service through Jobcentre Plus offices. They deal with benefits for people who are unemployed or who can’t work because of a health condition or a disability

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, the Department for Communities deals with benefits and pensions. For Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and Income Support in Northern Ireland, you need to contact your Jobs and Benefits office.

Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan Cancer Support provides support and guidance on how to deal with the financial impact of cancer.

You can contact their team of trained Welfare Rights Advisors (Monday-Friday 8am-8pm) or Financial Guides (Monday-Friday 8am-6pm) on 0808 808 0000.

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