Lung Cancer

Financial help

People with lung cancer may experience financial hardship, and are usually entitled to one or more government benefits, such as Statutory Sick Pay or Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

Statutory sick pay is usually paid during the first 28 weeks of sickness (not paid for the first 3 days) to people who earn more than the minimum (for current rates and information on benefits see

One man found Statutory Sick Pay inadequate. After 28 weeks he claimed Incapacity Benefit (now Employment and Support Allowance) and he described the forms that he had to complete as 'absolutely horrendous'. Many people thought it was unfair that they had regularly paid their taxes yet found it so hard to obtain benefits.

One woman said that a Macmillan nurse helped her fill in the forms for benefits. She received the money after a couple of months, backdated from the day the claim was made.

People need to know about benefits to claim as soon as the diagnosis of lung cancer is made, because there is no legal right for these benefits to be backdated. They can only be backdated at the discretion of the Benefits Office.

One man, diagnosed in 2002, argued that there should be more financial advice for people with lung cancer. Although many got advice from their doctors and nurses, others had little help. One man obtained benefits with the help of a Macmillan nurse and a Welfare Rights Officer from the city council. Macmillan also gave him a small grant to help him cover expenses.

One man, who had difficulty walking, applied for benefits (then Disability Living Allowance) and was initially told he wasn't eligible. He appealed to a tribunal and won his appeal. He used the extra money to help pay for his car so that he could go shopping.

People can also apply for a disabled badge for parking (Blue Badge Scheme). There is also a voluntary organisation (Motability), which helps people gain access to a car or other mobility aids.

People with mesothelioma are entitled to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit if they can demonstrate that they were in contact with asbestos during the course of their paid employment after July 1948 or during military service. It may also be possible to claim a Lump Sum Payment from the government or personal injury compensation from an employer.

One man with mesothelioma found the Benefits Agency unhelpful. He advised others to try to talk directly to the head of the department. His car, which he obtained through a charity (Motability) had been a godsend. Another man obtained compensation with help from a support group.

When claiming benefits it is best to put enquiries in writing, and to keep a copy.

Last reviewed November 2016.

Last updated November 2016.


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