Benefits if you are living with a terminal illness

If you’re living with a terminal illness and your doctor or a medical professional has said you might have less than six months to live, you may get benefits at a higher rate, get extra money or payments quicker than usual - sometimes called ‘special rules’. If you live longer than six months following your claim, your benefits will continue but your claim may be reviewed after three years.

Making your claim

You can apply for benefits straight away.  You can check what benefits you may be entitled to by contacting the Department for Communities Make the Call team or by using a Benefit Calculator.

Ask a medical professional to fill in a DS1500 form, so you can get benefits quicker. You may also get benefits at a higher rate or get extra money. The DS1500 form confirms your diagnosis and treatment plan.

Medical professionals include:

  • GPs
  • hospital or hospice doctors
  • registered nurses (for example, Macmillan nurses or specialist nurses)

They will send it to the Department for Communities (DfC) to support your benefit application, or you can send it yourself.

Applying on behalf of someone else

You will need to become an appointee to apply on behalf of someone else, unless you’re applying for:

  • Attendance Allowance (AA)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

If you’ve reached State Pension age

You can apply for Attendance Allowance. You do not have to have someone looking after you to be eligible for Attendance Allowance if the DfC has received your DS1500 form.

You can apply yourself or someone else can do it for you. Find out how to claim Attendance Allowance .

If you already get Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults but your condition has worsened and you’re not expected to live more than six months, call the Disability and Carers Service.

If you’re under State Pension age

If you’re 16 or over and have not reached State Pension age, check if you’re eligible for these benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit

You may be eligible to get two or more of these benefits at the same time, depending on your circumstances.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP helps with extra costs if you have long-term ill health or a disability. You can apply yourself or someone else can do it for you.

Find out how to claim PIP.

If you already get PIP but your condition has worsened and you’re not expected to live more than six months, you need to report a change of circumstances to the PIP Centre

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

ESA helps if you’re ill or disabled and cannot work. Check if you’re eligible for ESA

If you already get ESA but your condition has worsened and you’re not expected to live more than six months, you need to report a change of circumstances to the ESA Centre

Universal Credit

Universal Credit helps with living costs if you’re on a low income or out of work. Find out how to claim Universal Credit.

If you already get Universal Credit but your condition has worsened and you’re not expected to live more than six months, you need to report a change of circumstances by signing into your Universal Credit online account .

If you already get DLA for adults

DLA for adults (aged between 16 and State Pension age) has been replaced by PIP. If you already get DLA for adults but your condition has worsened and you’re not expected to live more than six months, you can contact the Disability and Carers Service

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for terminally ill children

DLA for children helps with extra costs if your child is under 16 and has difficulty walking or needs extra looking after. If your child is 16 or over you should apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead.

Find out how to claim DLA for children.

If you already get DLA for children but your child’s condition has worsened and they’re not expected to live more than six months, you need to report a change of circumstances to the Disability and Carers Service.

If you’re eligible, you could get Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance at the same time as DLA for children.

If you’re caring for someone who is terminally ill

You may be eligible for financial support if you care for someone who is living with a terminal illness.

If you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week, check if you can get Carer’s Allowance.

If you care for someone at least 20 hours a week and you’re under State Pension age, check if you can get Carer’s Credit.

Help and support

If you need support after your diagnosis or with applying for benefits you can get help from the following:

 

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