Benefits for cancer carers

If you look after someone with cancer, you may be able to claim benefits.

Carer's Allowance

Carer's Allowance is a payment you can get if you're looking after someone for at least 35 hours a week and they are on certain benefits. The person you're caring for doesn't need to be a relative. You don't have to live with them either. You don't get paid more if you look after more than one person. If more than one person looks after the same person, only one of you can get Carer's Allowance.

The care can include:

  • helping them with washing and cooking

  • taking them to a doctor's appointment

  • helping them with daily tasks such as paying bills and doing shopping

Your other benefits and that of the person you care for can be affected by Carer's Allowance. You pay tax on Carer's Allowance if your income is more than the Personal Allowance.

You and the person you care for must meet certain criteria.

You (the carer)

You must meet all of the following. You can qualify if:

  • you're 16 or older

  • you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week

  • you've lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the last 3 years (this does not apply if you're a refugee or have humanitarian protection status)

  • you usually live in England, Scotland or Wales, or you live abroad as a member of the armed forces (you might also qualify if you're moving to or already living in an EEA country or Switzerland)

  • you're not in full time education

  • you're not studying for 21 hours a week or more

  • you're not subject to immigration control

  • you're earning £151 a week or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses

The process is slightly different in Northern Ireland.

The person you care for

The person you're looking after must already get one of the following benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment (daily living component)

  • Disability Living Allowance (middle or highest care rate)

  • Attendance Allowance

  • Constant Attendance Allowance (at or above the normal highest rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit)

  • Constant Attendance Allowance (at the full day rate with a War Disablement Pension)

  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

  • Child Disability Payment (the middle or highest care rate)

  • Adult Disability Payment - daily living component at the standard or enhanced rate

Carers Credit

If you’re caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week, you may get Carers Credit.

This means you can take on caring responsibilities without affecting your eligibility for the State Pension.

Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit. It helps with gaps in your National Insurance record. Your State Pension is based on your National Insurance record.

Bereavement Support Payment (BSP)

Bereavement Support Payment is a payment that you can apply for if your partner has died. It is not means tested. So your income or whether or not you're working doesn't affect it.

Bereavement Support Payment has replaced:

  • Bereavement Allowance (previously Widow's Pension)
  • Bereavement Payment
  • Widowed Parent's Allowance

You may be able to get Bereavement Support Payment if your partner died in the last 21 months. You usually need to apply within 3 months of their death to get the full amount.

You can get it if your partner either:

  • paid a certain amount of Class 1 or Class 2 National Insurance contributions

  • died because of an accident at work or a disease caused by work

At the time of their death, you must have been:

  • under State Pension age

  • living in the UK or any country that pays bereavement payments

  • married to your partner, in a civil partnership, or living with them as if married

You cannot apply for Bereavement Support Payment if you're in prison.

You may still qualify for Bereavement Support Payment if your partner died more than 21 months ago.

You may qualify for Widowed Parent's Allowance if your partner died before 6 April 2017.

Funeral Expenses Payment

Funeral Expenses Payment (also called a Funeral Payment) is a payment that you can apply for to help you pay for a funeral you're arranging. You need to be on certain benefits.

In Scotland, you can apply for Funeral Support Payment. It has replaced Funeral Expenses Payment.

You might be able to get Funeral Expenses Payment if you:

  • are getting certain benefits (usually means-tested, such as Income Support, Pension Credit or Universal Credit or tax credits)
  • meet the rules on your relationship with the person whose funeral you are arranging
  • are arranging a funeral in the UK, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland

You might also get other help towards the funeral if you don't qualify for Funeral Expenses Payment.

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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