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To think that benefits should be available to someone who is terminally ill?

(21 Posts)
Mishap Sat 12-Jul-14 09:36:28

I worked as a social worker for 25 years and spent a lot of time helping people to apply for benefits, but I am now out of date - although I have looked the latest information up online.

Here is the scenario: a friend who is 50 has an aggressive cancer and the outlook is not good. She has no savings at all, lives alone (divorced) and has a mortgage. She was working part time and received SSP for the relevant number of weeks after she became ill, but this has now come to an end. She is being told by the Macmillan nurses and the CAB that she does not qualify for any benefits, and, unless things have changed in a cataclysmic way, this seems to be utter nonsense to me. As far as I can see, she should, as of old, qualify for Income Support, and I am encouraging them to apply for PIP under the special rules.

The nurses are applying to charities to get her mortgage help, but she has been clearly told that there are no other benefits available to her. I have another friend, who I helped to apply for PIP under the special rules, and she was successful - and she is much fitter and less in need of help at the moment than this poor lady

Is anyone out there a bit more up to date on all of this? Has our benefit system really gone down the pan to the extent that a dying woman cannot afford to feed herself?

sunseeker Sat 12-Jul-14 09:59:58

I'm no expert but would have thought she would be entitled to PIP under special rules. I think I would contact the relevant benefits office and ask direct. I sincerely hope you are able to find her help.

Galen Sat 12-Jul-14 10:07:14

Ok, if she has less than 6/12 to live she should apply for PIP (the successor to DLA) under the special rules.
If the prognosis is for longer she should apply for PIP normally if she needs help with personal bodily functions or mobility.
If she payed NI she may be eligible for ESA.
Any more help pm me.

Elegran Sat 12-Jul-14 10:22:32

I agree on the special rules if she is predicted to have less than six months. No-one wants that kind of prediction but if statistically that is so, then she becomes a special case.

Mishap Sat 12-Jul-14 10:35:10

Galen - does it have to be ESA? - could she not apply for Income Support?

Galen Sat 12-Jul-14 10:47:07

Not sure, but ESA particularly in the support group is a 'gateway' benefit to lots of others as is PIP.
Special rules mean that the doctors or McMillan nurses sign a certificate to say life expectancy is less than 6/12. This is the definition of terminal. Also in ESA, reg 27 and 35 may well be applicable. These are the exemption regs.

Mishap Sat 12-Jul-14 11:24:42

Thanks Galen. I think she probably would qualify for ESA, but I do not want to see her going through the fitness for work tests and examinations, as she really is in no fit state. And she definitely qualifies for PIP under special rules. I am trying to move this forward.

Galen Sat 12-Jul-14 11:55:21

Get evidence of terminal state and send with ESA forms and a note asking for the special provisions I think reg 27 and 35. Sat too I'll to attend. They have the power to passport her through on paper.

penguinpaperback Sat 12-Jul-14 13:26:07

It's all a bit hit and miss I'm afraid. I am classed as being eligible under special rules but other women I know, like me with metastasised breast cancer, are not getting the extra benefits. It can depend on the Oncologist, the Macmillan Nurses. A late friend of mine with two young children never did qualify for the full amount, even though her breast cancer had spread to her liver which mine hasn't.

Galen Sat 12-Jul-14 14:01:50

The whole things a mess at the moment. I read the select committee report on the DWP last week. It completely slated them.
Very few decisions are being made, the mandatory reconsideration is taking too long and the appeals aren't getting through.
I don't think people are aware of their appeal rights and think the reconsideration is it!
The whole fuckup mess is making me sooooooo cross!angry

agile75 Sat 12-Jul-14 16:03:36

I was a Social Worker for over 20 years but like Mishap I have not kept up with the Benefit changes however I feel that the solution will be found in the above contributions made by the above knowledgable group, I hope so.
Dealing with the benefit system is hell on earth for anyone applying but for someone who is terminal it is soul destroying.Why cant the Cancer Charities pay the Benefit equivalent straight away after doing the paperwork and collecting the evidence they could recoup the payments in retrospect.This would not cost the Charities anything as I am sure that there would be people who would volunteer for this work, me for one.
My Wife passed on in 2007 after being given 6 Months, She lasted 6 weeks.

FlicketyB Sat 12-Jul-14 16:40:56

She will also qualify for Housing Benefit if her income is low and that can cover mortgage interest as well as rent but I believe the claiming procedure is different. look at this site.

Dragonfly1 Sat 12-Jul-14 18:12:15

I'm surprised at Macmillan, to be honest. They were brilliant at sorting benefits for both my husband and my daughter, chasing up doctors' letters, filling in the forms and expediting the claims. Admittedly this was in the DLA days but even so, they were so on the ball!

Galen Sat 12-Jul-14 18:55:13

This new pip is proving very problematical. I haven't sat on one yet, but I've done the course and observed one of the few appeals that have made it through to tribunal.
Not looking forward to actually doing one. But the consensus is it's easier to get into the standard rate than was on DLA . The real problem seems to be the higher rate of mob getting you the car.

Please let me know what transpires.

Iam64 Sat 12-Jul-14 18:58:55

Thanks Galen, very helpful contributions for those of us struggling with similar things flowers for all

Mishap Sat 12-Jul-14 20:30:16

I am picking this up on holiday - right on the sea in a fisherman's cottage - the water is lapping at the walls!

I will keep in touch with what is happening via email and hope that they will have taken my advice to talk to GP re special rules PIP application and followed the other links that I have sent them.

There has to be some way of helping this lady - and it needs to happen quickly.

I too am surprised at Macmillan - I was very puzzled when they told her she had no entitlements at all. I am sure this is incorrect.

Her mortgage is interest only, and the company do not want to know - they have refused to reduce her payments.

Poor lady is beset on all sides.

rosesarered Sat 12-Jul-14 20:43:28

Does she have insurance on her mortgage?

Deedaa Sat 12-Jul-14 20:58:46

The benefits advisor from Macmillan was brilliant when she sorted out DH's DLA. At the time he was considered terminal and there was no problem about the GP signing the form. She told us to check the mortgage insurance and we were able to get a year's mortgage paid. This year he has been on he basic rate of DLA as he is no longer imminently terminal, but heaven knows what will happen when he has to change to PIP

Galen Sat 12-Jul-14 21:34:49

If you need any help, ask! If I can I will.

Coolgran65 Sat 12-Jul-14 21:56:21

Last year McMilllan nurses were fabulous, sorted out the PIP?? for my sis in law, and also totally unexpectedly produced a cheque to my brother for around £200 to help with his travel expenses. 30 miles each way to hospital.

annodomini Sat 12-Jul-14 22:06:47

AgeUK have considerable expertise in benefits advice. Even as a CAB adviser, I used to suggest to clients that their advice would be more helpful, though I'd never have admitted that to my manager.