Cancer & financial support

Benefits

If you are terminally ill, you are automatically entitled to PersonaI Independence Payment (PIP) (which replaced the old Disability Living Allowance) and Attendance Allowance (AA). Your carer may also be entitled to Carers Allowance. Macmillan have an interactive guide: www.macmillan.org.uk/benefitsmadeclear and patients can ring local benefits advisers: see the www.macmillan.org.uk website for more information.

If you are not terminally ill, then you may be entitled to PIP benefits if your daily life is severely affected by cancer and this is likely to be a long-term situation. Again, a good place to start would be Macmillan’s advisers.

Financial Advice

Macmillan also offer advice on insurance claims, paying your mortgage, budgeting etc. They have an online Financial Guide as well as advisers you can speak to on the phone.

Help with the costs of treatment

The best place to access information is www.dh.gov.uk/helpwithhealthcosts. There is also a leaflet (HC12) “A quick guide to help with health costs” which your hospital’s general office should have available. The website and the leaflet cover claiming for prescriptions, NHS dental treatment, NHS wigs and fabric supports, sight tests, glasses or contact lenses and travel to receive NHS treatment.

Prescription charges

If you are undergoing treatment for cancer, including treatment for the effects of cancer or the effects of previous or current cancer treatment, you can apply for an NHS medical exemption certificate. This entitles you to receive NHS prescriptions free of charge. Ask your doctor to sign and send off Form FP92A.

Travel Costs

If you receive certain benefits (e.g. Income Support, Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or a NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate) you can get help with the necessary cost of travel to NHS treatment (bus, train, petrol or in exceptional circumstances, taxi fares). See www.dh.gov.uk/helpwithhealthcosts (and www.nhs.uk/uc-healthcosts if you are receiving Universal Credit) or phone 0300 330 1343.

Another useful source of information is available on the macmillan website: click here 

If you need someone to travel with you to hospital, you can get their travel costs paid for as well. If you’re not receiving any of the above benefits, but are on a low income, see below details about the NHS Low Income Scheme.

You can usually get your refund at the hospital – check the procedure before you travel.

You’ll need to bring proof of your entitlement to one of the above benefits, such as your payment book or benefit award letter. You’ll also need to bring proof of your travel costs, for example tickets or receipts.

Some voluntary organisations have drivers who can give people lifts to hospital and other destinations. Check at your local library for details of voluntary organisations in your area.

The NHS Low Income Scheme

If you do not receive any of the relevant benefits, then you still may be able to get full or partial help if you are on a low income. You need to fill in Form HC1 (which can be obtained from any hospital general office or online from www.dh.gov.uk/helpwithhealthcosts). To qualify, you (or your partner, or both) must have less than £16,000 in savings, investments or property (not counting the place where you live) or £21,500 in savings, investments or property if you live permanently in a care home. Form HC1 is relevant when you need help paying for NHS prescriptions, NHS dental treatment, NHS wigs and fabric supports, sight tests, glasses and contact lenses, or travel to receive NHS treatment under the care of a consultant. They also have a helpline: 0300 330 1343. They can provide information and advice, send you a Form HC1 and provide help with filling it in.

If you have already incurred costs, you may claim for a refund of these costs. The form for claiming a refund of travel costs is Form HC5.

King’s College Hospitals (Princess Royal, Beckenham Beacon, Queen Mary Sidcup or Orpington)

If you are visiting any of the King’s College Hospitals such as the Princess Royal, Beckenham Beacon, Queen Mary Sidcup or Orpington hospitals, then ring 0203 299 6886 to book patient transport or claim a transport refund.

Last updated: 17.03.14.