Financial support and brain tumours

The Brain Tumour Charity does not provide financial help directly, but if you are affected by, or are living with, a brain tumour or brain cancer, you may be entitled to certain financial benefits. All rates stated are correct at the time of publication (September 2017).

Download our factsheet about financial support and brain tumours

Financial support if you have, or had, a brain tumour

The benefits you are entitled to will depend on your circumstances. You may be able to claim more than one type of benefit
e.g. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is paid by your employer, for up to 28 weeks, if you are too sick to work. To qualify you have to:

  • be classed as an employee (working under a contract)
  • have been ill for at least 4 continuous days (including non-working days)
  • earn at least £113 per week (before tax)
  • tell your employer you are sick before their deadline (or within 7 days, if they don't have one)

The current rate is £89.35 per week.

Some workers e.g. agricultural workers, have different rules.

If you are not eligible for SSP, you may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - see below.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit to help with the extra costs of a long-term health condition or disability. The amount you get depends on how your condition affects you, not on the condition itself.

If you have a brain tumour (low or high grade), it is likely that in the eyes of the law you are considered to have a disability, even though you may not see yourself that way.

PIP is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for new claimants aged 16-64.

There is an assessment process, which could involve a face to face consultation with a health professional. This will determine if you qualify for PIP and, if so, how much you will get.

PIP is made up of two components:

  • Daily living component (given to people who have difficulties caring for themselves)
    Enhanced rate: £83.10 per week Standard rate: £55.65 per week
  • Mobility component (given to people who have difficulties walking)
    Enhanced rate: £58.00 per week Standard rate: £22.00 per week

Claims can still be made for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children under the age of 16. Rates are between £22.00 and £141.10 per week. Rates paid are dependent upon the level of difficulty the child faces with movement and or the amount of care they require.

People aged 65 or over can apply for Attendance Allowance.

Attendance Allowance (AA)

If you are aged 65 or over and need help with personal care due to physical or mental disability, or you need supervision to keep you safe, you may be eligible for the Attendance Allowance. This is a tax-free benefit paid at the following rates:

Higher rate: £83.10 per week

Lower rate: £55.65 per week

If you have a terminal illness you automatically qualify for the higher rate.

Other benefits you may be receiving may increase if you get Attendance Allowance.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

ESA provides financial support to people who are not able to work, or are limited in the work they can do, because of illness or disability and are not entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP). You can apply if you re employed, self-employed or unemployed.

For ESA there is a 13 week assessment period to find out what you are able to do. During this time, a weekly 'assessment phase' will be paid at basic rate of £57.90 if you are under 25, and £73.10 if you are over 25. You will then be grouped into one of the following:

  • Work-related activity group – where your assessment shows that you are able to work, but you are limited as to the types of work you can undertake. You will be given support to help you prepare for work.
    In this group, you will receive up to £73.10 per week.
  • Support group – where your assessment indicates that your illness or disability affects you to such an extent that you are unlikely to be able to work for some time (though you may wish to carry out some voluntary work).
    In this group, you will receive up to £109.65 per week.

In some circumstances, additional premiums may be paid on top.

Free prescriptions and Prescription Pre-payment Certificate (PPC)

Prescriptions in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are free.

If you live in England and have had a diagnosis of cancer (a high grade tumour), you do not have to pay for prescriptions. Ask your doctor for a MedEx (medical exemption) form.

If you live in England and have been diagnosed with a low grade brain tumour, you may still be able to get free prescriptions. Ask your doctor if you qualify under other rules.

If you live in England and are not eligible for free prescriptions, but need them regularly, a prescription pre-payment certificate (PPC) can help save money. You can pick up a form, and get help filling it in, from your local pharmacy.

What if I am terminally ill?

Some people diagnosed with a brain tumour will become terminally ill. If you have a terminal illness and are not expected to live for more than 6 months, there are special rules about claiming PIP, AA or ESA. These special rules also apply if you are claiming DLA for a child under 16.

These rules speed up the process of claiming by fast-tracking your application. You also automatically qualify for the highest rates of these benefits.

Ask your doctor or nurse about a DS1500 form.

Financial support if you are caring for someone with a brain tumour

Carer's Allowance

This is available to people looking after someone, for 35 hours a week or more, who receives:

  • Daily living component of Personal Independent Payment (PIP)
  • Higher or middle rates of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Attendance Allowance.

The current rate is £62.70 per week.

You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you are caring for, but there are other eligibility criteria.

There might be some restrictions on other benefits you and the person you care for are entitled to while receiving Carer's Allowance.

Carer's Credit

Carer's Credit helps you protect your ability to qualify for a state pension if you have to take time off work to care for someone.

It fills in gaps in your National Insurance if you are caring for someone for more than 20 hours per week, and they are on certain benefits.

Other financial support for both patients and carers

Income Support

This provides a 'top up' to people on low, or no, income who are not able to work full-time, particularly carers or those looking after young children. Eligibility criteria are different for Northern Ireland.

The amount you are entitled to varies according to your circumstances, but if you qualify and have no income, you will get at least £57.90 per week.

Council Tax Reduction

If your home is the main home of someone with severe and permanent disabilities, you may be eligible for a reduction in your council tax (of up to 100% in certain circumstances), or a lowering of your council tax band.

Housing Benefit

If you are receiving certain benefits and are on a low-income, whether employed or not, you may be entitled to claim housing benefit to help with the cost of your rent.

Working Tax Credit

This payment is available if you (or your partner) are working, but earning a low income. The amount received is calculated using several factors.

Child Tax Credit

If you have one or more children in your care, you may be eligible to receive Child Tax Credit. The amount you receive is calculated using many factors.

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is an income-related benefit for retired people and consists of two parts:

  • Guarantee credit (the minimum age to claim is gradually rising from 60 to 66 years)
    You may be eligible for this if your income is below a certain level.
  • Savings credit (the minimum age to claim this is 65 years)
    You may be eligible for this if you have some savings or a second pension.

You may be entitled to more if you are disabled or are a carer.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is for people on a low income or unemployed. It is being rolled out across the UK and will replace certain other benefits.

The amount you get depends on your circumstances. There are extra amounts for people with, or caring for people with, a health condition or disability.

Financial grants for individuals

Whilst The Brain Tumour Charity does not give financial help for individuals directly, we can advise you on charitable sources that help people in financial hardship. Contact our Information and Support Line on 0808 800 0004 or

Our Benefits clinic

We work with Rushmoor Citizens Advice to provide a weekly telephone benefits clinic, offering specialist benefits advice and assistance to people affected by brain tumours.

Learn more about the Benefits Clinic.

Download our factsheet about financial support and brain tumours

Page last reviewed: 09/2017

Next review due: 09/2018

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