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Living with a terminal illness and looking for support? Our Support Line team are here to help. 

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Benefits and financial support

Living with a terminal illness, or caring for someone who has a terminal illness, can put a strain on finances. It can help to find out what financial help is available and how to plan your finances in advance to make the most of the time you have left.

On this page:

Benefits and entitlements

Benefits are payments from the government that can help people with specific needs. There are benefits for people on low incomes or who are unemployed. There are also benefits that you may be able to claim if you have a health condition or disability, you’re caring for someone, or you’ve been bereaved. Some of these benefits are not means-tested, which means that they aren’t based on how much money you earn or any savings you have.

We have comprehensive information about different benefits, who is entitled to them and how to claim them. Read our information about benefits and entitlements.

Paying for care

If you need care at home, your local social services may be able to provide social care and services. You may be asked to pay something towards the cost of services at home or in a care home. Read our information about getting social services.

NHS continuing healthcare is health and social care that you may be able to get free of charge from the NHS across the UK. It’s for people who aren’t in hospital but have complicated healthcare needs. Read our information about NHS continuing healthcare.

Adapting your home or buying equipment

If you need to adapt your home or buy equipment, you may be eligible for financial assistance. Read our information about practical and financial help for adapting your home and equipment.

Free or reduced cost health services

There are some care and support services that people have to pay for. Services you might have to pay for include eye tests, prescriptions, travel for appointments, going to the dentist and wigs. This can vary depending on where you live.

If you have certain medical conditions or are receiving some benefits, you might be able to get help with these costs.

For more information, visit:

  • NHS Choices   for information about help with health costs in England
  • NHS Wales for information about help with health costs in Wales
  • Citizens Advice for information about help with health costs in Scotland
  • NI Direct for information about help with health costs in Northern Ireland.

Insurance

If you have a terminal illness and have any insurance policies, you may be able to make a claim on your insurance and get more money. You might have health insurance, life insurance, or insurance through your employer. The Money Advice Service has more information about different types of insurance.

If you’re included on someone’s life insurance policy and they die, you may be entitled to some money. Read our information on claiming on a life insurance policy

Tax

If you’re living with a terminal illness, sorting out your tax affairs in advance can help you sort out your money. It can also help your family and friends in the future. Here are some things you might want to think about:

  • Paying tax on the things you want to leave to someone else, including any property, car, savings, investments or belongings (inheritance tax)
  • Paying tax on anything you sell or give away that has increased in value since you got it (capital gains tax)
  • Paying tax on a trust, if you have one.

The Money Advice Service has more information about different types of tax and how to manage payments.

Pensions

If you’ve been saving into a pension, you may want to use some or all of that money to help with the costs of living with a terminal illness. If you’re caring for someone with a terminal illness, you might also be thinking about drawing your pension or making savings in case you need to give up work. The Money Advice Service has more information about different types of pension.

When someone dies, it’s sometimes possible for their friends or family to receive some money from their pension. Read our information about what happens to your pension when you die.

Help with energy bills

You might be able to get benefits and grants to help with energy bills. Citizens Advice has more information about getting help with energy bills.

Useful links

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