Cancer and your finances: The extra help you might not know about

Cancer prices extra than simply individuals’s well being.

 Long intervals off sick or working half time means much less cash coming in, and extra bills corresponding to greater power payments to beat the chemo chills or extra spent on journey for frequent medical doctors visits, imply a prognosis can have a significant impact on your funds.

Research from Macmillan final yr put the typical individual battling the illness £570 a month worse off at a time when, let’s face it, you have extra urgent issues to fret about.

But there’s a entire host of little extra methods to help ease the burden from getting management of your payments or help from your financial institution, to reductions, exemptions and even charity grants.

Prescription lists: Most patients have a medicine cupboard fit to burst by the end of treatment

Prescription lists: Most sufferers have a medication cabinet match to burst by the top of therapy

While we now have centered this information on the help on the market particularly for most cancers sufferers, a lot of the knowledge is related to anybody fighting a severe sickness.

Free prescriptions 

Firstly, and in all probability prime of the record is free prescriptions. As a most cancers affected person you in all probability have a medication cabinet large enough to rival the native pharmacy.

Normally in England every merchandise prices £8.80 per merchandise (in Scotland and Wales they’re free). 

But most cancers sufferers, and these managing after results, are eligible for a medical exemption certificate.

These legitimate for 5 years or till your sixtieth birthday however you will get a reminder one month earlier than expiration to remind you to reapply if you are nonetheless eligible.

Don’t be scared to speak to your financial institution or lender

If your earnings has dropped and you are struggling to maintain up with repayments or you are falling into monetary problem then you ought to converse to your financial institution or lender.

If you clarify the state of affairs and the pressures it’s placing on your funds they can help by establishing compensation holidays to help give you some respiration room.

They may be capable of minimize the price of overdrafts and bank card money owed with decrease curiosity and decreased charges or freeze prices altogether.  

Lloyds Bank and Nationwide have each teamed up with Macmillan to supply devoted help to prospects affected by most cancers.

You can attain the Lloyds Bank specialist line on 0800 917 2393. Nationwide prospects can name 0808 808 00 00. 

However the remainder of the banks are not doing sufficient to help most cancers sufferers, in line with main most cancers charity, Macmillan.   

If your financial institution hasn’t provided any measures to help, there could also be a number of steps you can take your self to help carry on prime of your accounts.

Credit playing cards 

First up, Andrew Hagger, of, advises: ‘Make positive to pay your minimal bank card fee by direct debit, it should save you getting hit with £12 late fee charges.’

It may help to shift present bank card money owed to a specialist card with a short lived interest-free interval hooked up.

While you should watch out about how you handle these, they permit you to open a brand new card and shift debt from an outdated card to an interest-free deal of as much as three years.

Freezing the curiosity on your debt means any repayments you make are centered on clearing the debt moderately than paying off curiosity.  

>> Read extra about how to do that in our information to the very best playing cards for clearing money owed 


Switching financial institution accounts could seem to be the very last thing you need to be worrying about however it’s a lot simpler than you suppose as banks do most of it for you now. 

If your financial institution has hefty curiosity prices on overdrafts, shifting to an account with an interest-free buffer or decrease charges could help take the stress off, and cease you falling additional into debt.

>> Find out which present accounts supply the very best overdrafts right here 


If you’ve been identified with an sickness and are anxious about how you will be capable of meet your mortgage funds sooner or later, then discuss to your mortgage lender as quickly as doable.

David Hollingworth, from London and Country Mortgages, says: ‘Your lender must be prepared to work on a plan of motion to help you cope with the fee difficulties. 

‘That may contain contemplating a short lived swap to paying curiosity solely to scale back month-to-month prices for a interval. Lenders must be eager to help and it’s in no person’s curiosity to achieve some extent of repossession. 

‘As a consequence, opening a dialogue with your lender sooner moderately than later is sensible and ought to supply a greater probability of discovering an answer.’

Exploring whether or not there are advantages obtainable that might be able to help would additionally make sense. 

The authorities gives Support for Mortgage Interest, however this has not too long ago modified from being a profit to a mortgage. However, it could cowl the price of some or all mortgage curiosity. 

It’s obtainable after 39 weeks of claiming a qualifying profit and can cowl curiosity on a mortgage of as a lot as £200,000, calculated at a prescribed charge. 

This will now be a mortgage which does appeal to curiosity and is repayable when the property is offered, though it may be repaid sooner if the borrower would love. There’s extra information here.

I used to be pressured to downsize and borrow from associates and household to remain afloat 

Helping hand: Christine Cairns, 60, wishes she had had more information 

Helping hand: Christine Cairns, 60, needs she had had extra data 

Christine Cairns, 60, from Falmouth in Cornwall was identified with salivary gland most cancers in 2009.

She was pressured to show to associates and household to help her cope.

Christine explains: ‘I used to be in the midst of a home transfer once I was identified and there was some extent once I thought – I simply can’t cope. 

‘I needed to withdraw my home from the market and I misplaced cash on the survey I had acquired for the home I used to be interested by.

‘Then I acquired an sudden invoice which I simply couldn’t afford so I needed to downsize. I left my residence and my help community for a smaller home, however the transfer price me some huge cash.

‘I felt I had an extra battle on prime of my most cancers. I didn’t want that further stress when my focus ought to’ve been on my restoration. 

‘The influence on my funds was instant and devastating; my good credit score document was damaged and I felt like I used to be not being listened to.

‘I wanted a mortgage for a brand new automobile to start out a job however I used to be refused the mortgage and so needed to borrow £2,000 from my daughter.

‘I needed to borrow cash from my associates and household to cowl my bills and repay different loans. It was exhausting and exhausting work to ask all of those individuals for cash.

‘I want I had had extra data about what choices have been obtainable to me on the time. There was a lack of knowledge obtainable about how one can resolve my money owed.

‘If my financial institution had provided me a dialog, it will have taken an enormous stress off me. The help you want doesn’t simply end when therapy is over.’

Could you get your pupil mortgage written off?

If you turn out to be disabled you can get your student loan written off fully, however you should be capable of present that you are unfit to work long-term.

To be eligible you should be capable of present proof of getting acquired disability-related advantages throughout the previous yr and a letter from your GP or guide saying that you are completely unfit for work.

Help feeling normal: Choosing a wig is a big step in helping people coping with cancer get back to their everyday lives

Help feeling regular: Choosing a wig is an enormous step in serving to individuals dealing with most cancers get again to their on a regular basis lives

Getting a free wig

For many getting a wig can help make them really feel extra regular and could be a vastly essential step with dealing with their on a regular basis lives throughout therapy.

If you reside in Scotland or Wales artificial wigs are free however in England they’re solely free from the NHS if you are an inpatient or if you are beneath 16, (as much as 19 if you are in full-time training).

If not, you should buy one from the NHS for £71.25 for an artificial wig, £188.70 for a partial human hair wig or £275.95 for a full human hair wig.

You may be capable of get one at no cost if you obtain sure advantages. These embody income-related ESA, earnings help and income-related jobseeker’s allowance.

You can learn extra about these advantages, and if you could also be eligible in our information to most cancers and your advantages.

Alternatively you might be able to apply for the NHS Low Income Scheme to help with prices.

If you have already paid for your wig you may also reclaim the associated fee by filling out a  HC5(W) kind.

Hair loss could be extremely distressing so some individuals could select to purchase a wig privately to get extra selection. If you select to do that you can reclaim the VAT if you hair loss is brought on by most cancers, saving 20 per cent. 

You do that by the retailer you purchased the wig from. Most have a VAT refund kind and will repay the VAT again to the cardboard you paid with. 

There are additionally charities which concentrate on offering actual hair wigs to kids together with Little Princess Trust.

It’s additionally value enquiring about most cancers data and help companies in your space, at your native hospital. Many run workshops or have Look Good Feel Better periods to help sufferers be taught make-up methods and supply freebies to help you really feel extra regular.

Extra NHS help

Don’t overlook if you are getting some advantages you may qualify for help with different prices. 

Some individuals are eligible at no cost NHS dental remedies, sight exams, cloth helps together with surgical bras for breast most cancers sufferers, help with the prices of glasses or contact lenses and refunds on the price of travelling to the hospital when receiving NHS therapy. 

Charity help

Some charities on the market supply grants to help these struggling probably the most.

place to start out is the grants search instrument on the Turn2Us website which permits you to go looking utilizing your postcode.

There are round 3,000 charitable funds and you can search in line with your space, household state of affairs and for health-specific grants.

You may additionally strive the search instrument which works in an analogous manner, matching you in line with particular sicknesses or disabilities.

Specialist most cancers charity Macmillan gives grants to these on a low earnings, which common round £380.

To apply you should have a weekly earnings beneath £170 (single individual) with lower than £6,000 in financial savings or £289 as a pair with lower than £8,000.

You will have to be really useful by a Macmillan or group nurse, well being or social employee, hospital social employee or a well being skilled from one other welfare charity and be supported by a brief medical report from a second skilled corresponding to your physician, guide or Macmillan nurse.  

Bill shock: The first step should always be to speak to your existing provider to see if they can help

Bill shock: The first step ought to all the time be to talk to your present supplier to see if they will help

Energy payments

Feeling the chilly extra is a typical facet impact of most cancers and chemotherapy therapy however turning the thermostat up provides round £177 per yr to payments in line with Macmillan’s figures. 

The very last thing you need to fear about when you are dealing with the unwanted side effects of your therapy is how a lot it is going to price you to get comfy. The excellent news is there are a number of methods to chop your payments, so you do not should. 

Call your supplier as early as doable

Telling your power or invoice suppliers as early as doable is a good suggestion.

Make positive to inform them about your state of affairs and if you obtain any advantages as there could also be extra help you can get and it signifies that, ought to you fall behind on your funds because of monetary stress, they’re more likely to be extra sympathetic. 

Your power supplier will be capable of put you on the Priority Services Register which places you right into a class of people that may have extra help, together with pushing you to the highest of the record for help in an emergency.

They may help swap you to a less expensive tariff. Some supply particular offers at decreased charges.  

Npower, which has a partnership with Macmillan, says if you inform the supplier you have most cancers and are fighting your payments it might be able to cap them and even write off any debt you have constructed up.

British Gas works particularly with Clic Sargent advisers which specialises in help for most cancers sufferers beneath 25 years outdated.

There are a number of suppliers which have charity funds you can apply for help with family payments. 

Anglian Water, British Gas, EDF, and Eon all have charitable trusts which provide grants to help clear family invoice debt or fund power effectivity enhancements for weak prospects. Most require that you are a buyer, however British Gas gives help even whether it is not your provider.  

Make positive you are on the most cost effective tariff 

You might be able to pay much less mechanically by switching to a less expensive deal or altering how you handle your account. These are basic bits of recommendation we give to all our readers, it could seem to be a problem however it could minimize your payments by £100s.

Andrew Hagger, of, advises: ‘Try to get your payments paid by direct debit – this may be useful if you should face extended intervals in hospital and are not at residence to cope with your publish.’ 

Paying by direct debit and switching your payments to managing them on-line will even help you keep away from any shock payments on the finish of winter and will usually get you a reduction.

If you haven’t switched power tariff for some time you will possible have been moved to your supplier’s costliest tariff, the usual variable charge deal. 

If you are on considered one of these tariffs a fast cellphone name may save you lots of. 

You may additionally think about altering supplier fully. This is less complicated than you suppose. You can learn extra about how to do that in our information right here. 

Do you qualify for the Warm Home Discount?

The Warm Home Discount scheme gives £140 off your power invoice to help with prices in the course of the colder months. 

If you are on a low earnings you can apply to your power supplier straight, if you qualify by the Guarantee Credit ingredient of Pension Credit you ought to obtain a letter.  

Help getting round

Disabled badge

Having a disabled badge could be lifeline for these going by troublesome therapy. It signifies that you can park near the hospital and can usually sidestep costly parking prices. 

It additionally qualifies you at no cost parking in some areas, which might help you save a good bit of money, significantly for these dwelling in London. 

If you get sure advantages, corresponding to the non-public independence fee (PIP) or old-style incapacity dwelling allowance (DLA), you qualify mechanically for a blue badge. (You can discover out extra about PIPhere.) 

If not, you can apply on-line here, or converse to your native council for extra data. 

Freedom move 

If you reside in London and are registered disabled you may also apply for a freedom move which suggests you can journey on tubes, buses and the overground at no cost.

Hospital parking

Car parks at main hospitals are sometimes run by outdoors corporations which cost extortionate quantities. It’s all the time value asking if there are reductions for most cancers sufferers as some hospitals can waive prices. 

These have a tendency not to be brazenly marketed although so make certain you ask the query.

Grab a cab for much less

With appointments usually operating late, sufferers are by no means fairly positive how lengthy they might be caught in hospital. Organizing a taxi can usually be extra handy. 

Many authorities run reductions for these with mobility points on taxi fares. Again there are standards you should fulfill.

London, for instance, has a Taxicard service which provides you a sure variety of subsidised journeys whereas Surrey and Manchester have voucher schemes. So make certain to ask your native authority. 

Apply for your licence early

If you are 16 and receiving PIP or DLA you can apply to take your driving check one yr early. You can discover out extra here.

The Motability scheme

This scheme permits you to trade the motability ingredient of your advantages to lease a automobile, scooter or powered wheelchair. 

It contains insurance coverage, breakdown help, servicing and upkeep. You can discover our extra here.


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