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Terminal Illness Benefits

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 23 Nov 2015 | comments*Discuss
Terminal Illness Benefits Disability

Coping with the discovery that you have a terminal illness is of course, an incredibly difficult thing to have to do. It is also, however, hugely distressing for those around you, particularly if it becomes necessary for them to act as a carer for you. Aside from the considerable time commitment that this can represent, it is also fairly likely that your living costs will rise. In order to help counter this, individuals with terminal illnesses generally qualify for government benefits.

Disability Living Allowance

Individuals with disabilities which affect their day-to-day lives to the degree at which they require help from a third party can apply for Disability Living Allowance, or DLA. This allowance is designed to help towards the cost of care, and is divided into three tiers. Each of these tiers is intended for a different severity of need. If you have a terminal illness and it is thought that you will die within six months, you will qualify for the highest rate of the ‘care component’.

The benefit available is currently £55.30 per week, and the restrictions on qualification are less stringent than those for people with disabilities. When applying for DLA with a disability you must prove, amongst other things, that you have had a need for care for at least three months prior to the date of your claim. Furthermore, in most circumstances it is necessary for the applicant to prove that they have been resident in the UK for at least 26 of the past 52 weeks.

If you are applying as a result of a terminal illness, however, neither of these ‘gateway tests’ need be passed. Instead, you must be able to prove only that you have a terminal illness which is likely to cause death within six months. A letter outlining your condition from a doctor or consultant should be sufficient proof of this.

Attendance Allowance

It is also possible for individuals with terminal illnesses to apply for what is known as Attendance Allowance, or AA. This is paid at the same rate as the Disability Living Allowance, and those applying because of a terminal illness need again only satisfy the adjudicating officer that it is reasonable to expect that the applicant will die within six months.

In the case of both the DLA and AA, the applicant will of course not be expected to know that they will die within six months. The test that must be passed is one of likelihood; it must be deemed reasonable to expect that the applicant will only live for this period, even though they may end up living longer.

Regardless of which benefit you are applying for, it is very important that your application links your illness with the expected cause of death. This should be explained in some detail in the case of those suffering with, for example, AIDS, or other illnesses that make the sufferer vulnerable to further diseases and complications which may, in themselves, lead to death. You should also note that, in the case of those with terminal illnesses, benefits are paid weekly.

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My mother died recently leaving some small insurance policies which amounted to £11,500 but left credit card debts of approx £18,000.She died without leaving a will but had asked me to deal with her affairs as my father is elderly and disabled. I have settled the funeral bill and am left with just over £6,500 of her 'estate'.Will I be able to use this to pay something to her credit cards on a 'pro rata' basis, or will they expect my elderly father to sell the family home? I am also waiting confirmation from the tax office, etc that everything is up to date there.
t2 - 23-Nov-15 @ 8:49 PM
@cat. Assuming he leaves no surviving spouse his estate will be dealth with through probate. When you've got the grant of probate the money in the estate is used to pay off any outstanding debts (usually the executor will deal with this). The debts need be cleared before the estate can be distributed to beneficiaries. If there is not enough money in the estate to clear the debt then assets will have to be sold (including property). Debts are usually paid in the following order of priority: Secured debts (eg mortgages, secured personal loans etc), funeral and administration costs, unsecured debts (like credit card bills and unsecured personal loans), gas, water and telephone bills, unpaid rent, Council Tax and other taxes.
TheWillExpert - 4-Jun-15 @ 12:37 PM
My father passed away owing 12500 on a loan, he had 8000 in the bank and the bank has taken this. Can the bank force the sale of his home to repay the remainder?.
Cat - 2-Jun-15 @ 11:17 AM
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