The financial impact of a brain tumour
Advice to help you take the first steps towards taking control of your finances after receiving a brain tumour diagnosis.
Receiving the news that you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a brain tumour can be a frightening and daunting time. The financial implications of a brain tumour diagnosis may not be your immediate concern, so we’ve pulled together guidance from a range of trusted sources to help you navigate this difficult time.
Potential loss of earnings
Research conducted by The Charity showed that 8 in 10 people living with a brain tumour had to either reduce their earnings or stop work completely, and over two-thirds of those caring for someone with a diagnosis had to do the same. This may not be your experience, but it’s a good idea to consider potential loss of earnings when thinking about your finances.
For many people, employment is their main source of income. We understand that if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a brain tumour, your income through employment may have been affected, due to having to stop working or working less.
We’ve developed a series of employment resources to help you decide whether you want to tell your employer about your diagnosis and guidance on how to have that conversation. There are also suggestions of ‘reasonable adjustments’ that could be made by your employer to help you to stay in employment.
The cost of travelling to and from appointments can quickly add up, either from public transport or parking and fuel. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for help with these travel costs though.
Receiving a brain tumour diagnosis can affect your ability to drive safely and you may need to surrender your driving licence to the DVLA. It’s important that you advise the DVLA of a diagnosis as soon as possible.
If you do need to surrender your driving licence, you may suddenly become much more reliant on public transport like buses, trains and taxis. This can be expensive, especially if you live in a rural area with fewer transport links, so it’s a good idea to find out more about the financial support available for travelling by public transport.
Household energy bills
Some people impacted by a diagnosis find themselves spending more money on thier energy bills. This is often because they need to spend more time indoors when they’re recovering from treatment and feeling colder as a side-effect. Take a look at how much you’re currently spending on your energy bills and how much a possible increase in would impact you.
Joining one of our Online Brain Tumour Support Groups would be a great opportunity to find out how this has impacted people who have already experienced this.
Expert benefits & money advice
Last year our Benefits and Money Clinic helped 178 members of our community claim over £450,000!
A brain tumour diagnosis can often lead to additional childcare needs, especially if you’re experiencing fatigue (a common side-effect of brain tumours and their treatments) or you’re unable to bring your child to appointments. While you may be able to rely on friends and family to help out, extra childcare is a potential cost you should consider.
Financial support for your loved ones when you have gone
After a terminal diagnosis, it’s perfectly natural to worry about how your family will be able to cope financially.
If you’re making long-term financial plans because of a terminal diagnosis or are planning for the end of life, Marie Curie have a ‘Planning Ahead Checklist’ that can be very helpful.
Not only does it encourage you to think about planning your funeral and how you’ll pay for it, but it helps you be more aware of practical issues like who’ll have access to your social media accounts and who will look after your pets.
Immediate actions you can take
Once you understand the money you currently spend, you can then think about the extra costs you might have because of a brain tumour diagnosis. There are some immediate actions you can take that require little effort and can really help you take control of your finances. Below are a few examples that may reduce outgoings and help you keep to your budget.
The first thing you should consider is making a budget. Budgets are a great way to get a snapshot of your financial situation and can help prepare you for the potential financial impact of a brain tumour diagnosis. It’s also a way of taking some measure of control at a time of uncertainty, which can feel reassuring and empowering.
Budgeting doesn’t need to be complicated so there’s no need to be worried about writing one. All your budget needs to show is a details of the money that’s coming in and going out each month. A lot of people don’t know the amount of money they’re spending each month and your budget will help you easily identify any savings you can make.
Writing your budget as soon as you can help identify potential problems quickly and make it easier to adjust to any changes you need to make.
If you are unsure where to start with budgeting, you can use free online tools to help you create your budget, for example, this online budget planner from the Money Advice Service.
Use price comparison sites
Price comparison sites are a great way to find out if you’re on the lowest tariff for your bills. If you’re not, contact your provider and explain your, or your loved one’s, diagnosis. Ask about what they can offer due to reduced income. You can generally get a better deal elsewhere that’s likely to be amenable to your needs, so consider switching as well to get the best price.
Use money-saving apps
Make use of free-to-use money-saving and budgeting apps that keep track of your finances and save you money. Free apps like Petrol Prices can compare prices for essentials which can really help.
Find out about mortgage holidays
If you have a mortgage you might want to enquire about your eligibility for a mortgage holiday. This is an agreement with your lender that allows you to temporarily stop or reduce your monthly repayments for a maximum of up to 12 months.
You may be able to retire and claim a private pension early, following a brain tumour diagnosis. To be eligible, your illness usually has to be permanent and preventing you from working. It will also depend on the rules of your pension scheme.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to claim your State Pension until you reach State Pension age.
For more advice, read MacMillan’s advice about accessing your pension early.
Consider a health insurance claim
If you have health insurance, you might be able to make a claim. If you have a terminal diagnosis, most policies will pay out the full amount upon receiving confirmation from your medical team.
You’ll need to discuss this with your insurance provider and be aware that making a claim can affect any benefits you receive through your insurance.
If you don’t have health or life insurance, you could consider arranging this. MacMillan have information about applying for health insurance after a cancer diagnosis.
In some instances, you may be eligible for a financial support grant, which could be awarded as money, products or services that don’t have to be paid back.
While we don’t provide grants at The Brain Tumour Charity, we have some tips and advice on searching for relevant grants, and examples of some that you might be able to apply for.
Who can I talk to for help?
You don’t have to worry about doing this on your own. There are different avenues of support that can help take some of the stress out of this process and help is available every step of the way.
The Brain Tumour Charity’s Benefits and Money Clinic
We’ve partnered with Rushmoor Citizens Advice Bureau to offer specialist benefits and money advice to people affected by brain tumours.
Our Benefits and Money Clinic helps people affected by a brain tumour access the financial support they’re entitled to, as well as advice on how to make the most of their money, including debt and budgeting advice. Last year our Benefits and Money Clinic helped 178 members of our community claim over £450,000 and you can book your appointment today.
You can also speak to our Support & Information Team about any financial concerns you’re having.
Citizens Advice Bureau
Your local Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to provide you with information and advice on finances. They will be able to advocate on your behalf and will be able to call companies, such as your energy and mortgage providers, to enquire about reduced rates and priority services, saving you time and effort.
Talking to your employer
Telling your employer about a diagnosis can be a challenging conversation and it’s only natural to feel anxious about it. It’s important to note that employers are legally obligated to work with you and make “reasonable adjustments” to help you continue working if you’re well enough.
Talking to your employer early gives them an opportunity to understand your situation and put a plan into action to best support you.
Support and Information Services
You can also join our active online community.
If you need someone to talk to or advice on where to get help, our Support and Information team is available by phone, email or live-chat.
Share your experiences and help create change
By taking part in our Improving Brain Tumour Care surveys and sharing your experiences, you can help us improve treatment and care for everyone affected by a brain tumour.