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Financial support if you become terminally ill with a brain tumour

Is there a terminal illness benefit? It’s sometimes called ‘special rules for end of life’, and may give you extra money, faster payments, or other benefits. Here we’ll discuss financial support if you’re terminally ill.

Receiving the news that your condition is terminal can be very difficult and you may have concerns about the impact that this may have on your finances and the finances of your family.

There may be a number of financial benefits available to you, as well as other forms of support to help your family after you are gone.

On this page, we’ll discuss:

Our experienced Benefits and Money Advisor providing advice over the phone to someone affected by a brain tumour

Expert advice and guidance on financial support

Speak to our experienced advisors for advice on the support you may be entitled to after receiving a terminal diagnosis.

Terminal illness benefit: Claiming benefits under special rules

If you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you may be able to ‘fast track’ your application for certain benefits. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) calls this an application under “Special Rules”.  You must have a progressive disease and your death can reasonably be expected within 12 months. This is called claiming under special rules for end of life.

If you think you may be eligible to claim under special rules, speak to your GP, Consultant, Nurse or other Healthcare Professional about this. If you are eligible they will provide you with a report, called an SR1, which you can send to the DWP when you apply for benefits.

Claiming under special rules will affect claims for benefits in the following ways:

You will be eligible to receive the enhanced rate of the daily living component of PIP, without the need to have a health assessment or waiting three months for the end of the PIP qualifying period. However, you will not automatically qualify for the mobility component of PIP, therefore you must let the DWP know if you are having problems with mobility so that you can claim this component too.

There is a similar fast tracked application process for those who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, who are over pension age (66 at the time of writing but due to increase to 67 between 2026 to 2028). You will not have to fill in the full application form or answer the questions about personal tasks and do not have to wait the 6 month qualifying period.  You will automatically get the higher rate of Attendance Allowance.

In April 2013, PIP replaced DLA for working aged claimants (currently 16-66). If you are still receiving DLA, and have become terminally ill, this is considered as a change in circumstances. This means that you will need to make a new claim for PIP under specials rules (see above).

Children under the age of 16 can claim DLA and, if appropriate, under the fast track special rules outlined above. They will automatically  receive the highest rate of the care component and do not have to wait 3 months for the end of the qualifying period.  They will not automatically get the Mobility component so ask for this to be considered if appropriate.

You are able to claim ESA under special rules and have your application fast tracked if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. You will not have to wait for an assessment – you will automatically be put into the Support Group receiving the higher rate and will not be required to take part in work-related activities at the Job Centre.

You might be able to claim Universal Credit as someone with Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity (LCW/LCWRA).  By providing your SR1, you will be treated as having LCW/LCWRA.  You will not be required to undertake any assessment and more money will be included in your calculation of Universal Credit from the date you claim or the date you provide your SR1.  There is no waiting time.

Bear in mind, this is a means tested benefit, however, so your claim will only be successful if you meet all the other requirements, including how much money is already coming into the household and how much you have in savings.

Other forms of financial support following a terminal brain tumour diagnosis

If you suffer from ill health that is considered permanent and you stop working, then you may be entitled to claim your pension early, depending on the conditions of your pension scheme. Talk to your employer, the pension provider or your financial adviser.

You may also be eligible for free prescriptions.

And, there are different types of insurance for ill health.  For example

  • Critical Illness Protection which will pay out a lump sum
  • Income Protection Policies which can provide an income for life
  • Payment Protection Policies which can help you to pay, for example, loans or credit cards
  • Mortgage Protection Policies to help with mortgage payments.
  • Terminal Illness Insurance will pay out the insurance cover, will normally make payments if you have been diagnosed with a condition which means your life expectancy is believed to be less than 12 months.  Talk to your Insurer as soon as possible so that you can find out the terms of your insurance.

End of life financial planning

Following a terminal brain tumour diagnosis, you may need to consider a variety of matters such as, who will care for your loved ones? Or, how do you leave something in your Will to them or a cause you care about? If you don’t already have a will, it would be a good idea to make one so that you can be confident that your wishes will be followed.  You might also want to think about Power of Attorney.  Depending on your circumstances, you might want to talk to your family and/or friends about your wishes.

Some employers will offer a death in service payment. This is a tax free lump sum that is paid out to a person nominated by you if you are employed by the company at the time of your death.

It is also common for death in service payments to include a survivor’s payment, usually paid to your spouse, cohabiting partner or civil partner. 

Ask your employer about this as schemes vary between employers and not every employer will offer this.

If you have a private pension, and pass away before accessing this, then you should be able to nominate to your pension provider who you wish to receive the money. You should check the terms of your pension with the pension provider.  Sometimes, the lump sum is paid to your estate.

If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team:
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