Benefits and Terminal Illness

If you are living with a terminal illness and your doctor or a medical professional has said you might have less than six months to live, you may:

  • get benefits at a higher rate or get extra money

  • start getting payments quicker than usual

This is sometimes called ‘special rules’.

If you live longer than six months following your claim, your benefits will continue but your claim may be reviewed after three years.

Making your claim

You can apply for benefits straight away.

Ask a medical professional to fill in a DS1500 form, so you can get benefits quicker. You may also get benefits at a higher rate or get extra money. The DS1500 form confirms your diagnosis and treatment plan.

Medical professionals include:

  • GPs

  • hospital doctors

  • registered nurses (for example, Macmillan nurses or specialist nurses)

They will send it to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to support your benefit application, or you can send it yourself. The address is on the form.

Applying on behalf of someone else

You will need to become an appointee to apply on behalf of someone else, unless you are applying for:

  • Attendance Allowance

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children

If you have reached State Pension age

You can apply for Attendance Allowance. You do not have to have someone looking after you to be eligible for Attendance Allowance if DWP has received your DS1500 form.

You can apply yourself or someone else can do it for you. Find out how to claim Attendance Allowance.

If you already get Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults but your condition has worsened and you are not expected to live more than six months, call the Disability Service Centre.

If you are under State Pension age

If you are 16 or over and have not reached State Pension age, check if you are eligible for these benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • Universal Credit

You may be eligible to get two or three of these benefits at the same time, depending on your circumstances.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP helps with extra costs if you have long-term ill health or a disability. You can apply yourself or someone else can do it for you.

Find out how to claim PIP.

If you already get PIP but your condition has worsened and you are not expected to live more than six months, you need to report a change of circumstances.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

ESA helps if you are ill or disabled and cannot work.

If you already get ESA but your condition has worsened and you are not expected to live more than six months, you need to report a change of circumstances.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit helps with living costs if you are on a low income or out of work. Find out how to claim Universal Credit.

If you already get Universal Credit but your condition has worsened and you are not expected to live more than six months, you need to report a change of circumstances.

If you already get DLA for adults

DLA for adults has been replaced by PIP. If you already get DLA for adults but your condition has worsened and you are not expected to live more than six months, you can contact the Disability Service Centre to report a change of circumstances.

If your child is terminally ill

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children

DLA for children helps with extra costs if your child is under 16 and has difficulty walking or needs extra looking after. If your child is 16 or over you can apply for PIP instead.

Find out how to claim DLA for children.

If you already get DLA for children but your child’s condition has worsened and they are not expected to live more than six months, you need to report a change of circumstances.

If you are eligible, you could get Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance at the same time as DLA for children.

If you are caring for someone who is terminally ill

You may be eligible for financial support if you care for someone who is living with a terminal illness.

If you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week, check if you can get Carer’s Allowance.

If you care for someone at least 20 hours a week and you are under State Pension age, check if you can get Carer’s Credit.

Help and support

If you need support after your diagnosis or with applying for benefits you can get help from the following:

For further information: