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Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: Social Security support for children with cancer

Child with cancer smiling with mum

Each year in Scotland around 330 children and young people under 25 are diagnosed with cancer, according to Public Health Scotland.

During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we want to highlight the financial support children with cancer and their carers could be eligible for.

We know that having cancer comes with a financial burden, with young cancer patients and families facing costs to pay for things like transport, higher energy bills and clothing. People can also experience a loss of income by having to take time off work or give up work completely to care for their child with cancer.

Child Disability Payment provides financial support to help families and carers with the extra costs of caring for a disabled child or young person or one with a long-term health condition. It replaces Disability Living Allowance for children in Scotland that was previously delivered by the DWP.

If your child, or a child you care for, has a terminal illness, you can apply for disability benefits under Special Rules for Terminal Illness. This means that we will fast-track your application.

The Special Rules for Terminal Illness (SRTI) provide a more straightforward process of applying for disability benefits. The application form is in one part and a Benefits Assessment for Special Rules in Scotland (BASRiS) form from a registered doctor or nurse provides confirmation of a terminal illness.

Rona McMurran, one of our Child Disability Payment Practitioners who supports our team of case managers to process disability benefit applications, said:

“Families living with childhood cancer face a lot of unexpected practical costs. These could include running the heating more often as children may struggle to maintain their temperature; buying more clothes due to weight fluctuations; a higher weekly food shop to accommodate food preferences if a child is experiencing nausea or mouth ulcers as a result of treatment; and travel costs to and from hospital and appointments.

“Child Disability Payment can be used to buy things to enhance quality of life when a child is going through or recovering from treatment. Digital tablets and smartphones can give children a link to friends and family when they are in hospital or too poorly to visit others. Some families might use funds to purchase some extra tutoring or educational apps to help them keep up in school.

“When people apply for Child Disability Payment, we need supporting information from a professional that broadly confirms the child’s conditions, disability or needs. This could include documents like appointment letters, medical test results or treatment plans. We can gather this information on the client’s behalf, if they prefer. It’s also important to highlight that the child doesn’t have to have a formal cancer diagnosis yet to be eligible to apply for Child Disability Payment.”

Other financial support is available including Child Winter Heating Payment (formerly Child Winter Heating Assistance). This benefit is designed to support those who have higher fuel needs because of their disability or health condition.

Support is also available for people who are caring for a child who has cancer. They could be eligible for:

  • Carer’s Allowance Supplement - an automatic payment made twice a year to people who get Carer’s Allowance through the DWP on certain dates each year. A person caring for someone with cancer, providing personal care or helping with medication, for instance, could be entitled to this payment. Carer’s Allowance will soon be replaced by Carer Support Payment in Scotland.
  • Young Carer Grant - an annual payment of £359.65 for people 16, 17 or 18 who care for people who get a disability benefit for an average of 16 hours a week or more. A young person caring for a family member, friend or neighbour with cancer could be entitled to this payment, which can include giving them emotional support or helping them with their mental health.

To find out more about these benefits and apply online, over the phone or book an appointment to apply in-person, people can visit or call us free on 0800 182 2222.

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