Coping with the cost of illness Living with illness can be an expensive business. Taxis, microwaveable meals, heating bills and laundry charges all mount up when you can’t get up and about like you used to. Marsha Heward is Trinity’s Welfare Benefits Adviser and her job is to help patients and carers at Trinity access the financial help available to them. Marsha said, “I’m concerned and saddened by the myths and stigma which surround benefits. There are so many people who could benefit from extra financial support but end up missing out.” Here Marsha outlines just some of the key sources of financial support for people living with a life-limiting illness and their carers as well as some top tips for applying. For people living with a life-limiting illness Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is paid if you find it difficult to carry out daily tasks or get about. It is not means tested; you could get it regardless of how much income or savings you have. It is available for those not yet eligible for the state pension. Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is paid if you can’t work or can only work a few hours a week because of sickness or disability. You may be able to get ESA if your Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) has run out or you can’t claim SSP. Attendance Allowance is paid you’re aged 65 or over and you need help with personal care. Concessionary travel is available in a variety of forms, from disabled parking badges, to taxi cards to disabled freedom passes for public transport. Universal Credit helps with living costs for those on a low income or unable to work. Grants in the form of small, mostly one-off payments are available to help people with costs caused by or related to their illness. For carers Carers Allowance is paid to people caring for at least 35 hours a week who earn less than £120 per week after tax and expenses. The person you care for must receive certain benefits for you to be eligible. Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit you can get if you have reached your State Pension age. Bereavement Support Payment can be paid to someone whose husband, wife or civil partner has died since 6 April 2017. If your husband, wife or partner died before this date, you may be eligible for a separate bereavement payment or allowance. Top Tips Don’t be afraid to apply Benefits have had some negative press but they can do a huge amount to help people cope with the financial impact of illness. Many disability benefits aren’t affected by your income or savings so there is no reason not to apply. Apply early Disability benefits can’t be backdated so apply for help as soon as you need it. Don’t wait until crisis point. Get help It’s not easy to navigate the benefits system. Trinity’s Welfare Benefits Advice service can help via email, phone, home visits or in our outpatient services. If you or someone you care for are receiving support from Trinity, simply contact us to get in touch. Other places where you can go for help include a Macmillan Advice Centre in your local hospital, Citizens Advice Bureau, Marie Curie, Carers UK, Law Centres and the Government website.