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Financial support for people diagnosed with cancer

A nurse is holding hands with a patient

Sunday 4 February is World Cancer Day. Every year 34,500 people in Scotland will be diagnosed with cancer and many will be entitled to Adult Disability Payment or Child Disability Payment.

The payments are available to help people with a disability or long-term health condition to cover extra costs like transport or care equipment. Adult Disability Payment is available to people in work and eligibility is not based on employment or income.

People who are terminally ill automatically receive the highest rates of Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment they are entitled to, and there are no award reviews.

They can apply under special rules and their application will be fast-tracked as soon as we receive an application and a Benefits Assessment under Special Rules in Scotland (BASRiS) form from their registered doctor or nurse, confirming that they are terminally ill. These applications are processed by specially-trained staff.

One of our clients has shared his story ahead of World Cancer Day.

Eighteen months ago, doctors discovered a rare, neuroendocrine tumour on Tom McLavin’s pancreas. The inoperable, stage four cancer subsequently spread to his liver. Tom said:

“All credit to Social Security Scotland. Everything went through very quickly. There are forms to fill in but if you have a line from your doctor or your nurse it’s very straightforward.

“In an average month I’ll have blood tests at Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline. I pick up my chemotherapy pills from the Victoria in Kirkcaldy. Then I have scans at the Western in Edinburgh. Apart from the financial cost, there’s also the sheer amount of time it all takes up. The Adult Disability Payment is important because having cancer is a job in itself.”

Cancer is a serious illness but for many people it is not fatal and some people can live with the disease for years or even decades.

When people with cancer apply for Child Disability Payment or Adult Disability Payment under the standard process, we only need one piece of supporting information from a professional to support the application. This should broadly confirm the applicant’s disabilities, conditions or needs.

Supporting information can take many forms, such as prescription lists, care plans and appointment letters, things which most people already have at home. It can come from a range of professionals including support workers, physiotherapists, nurses and counsellors, not just GPs.

We encourage people to provide supporting information to us directly when they are applying for a disability benefit.

We can also collect supporting information for applicants if they request this. This means we will get in touch directly with professionals to request supporting information.

This can take some time and the quickest way to get a decision is if applicants can provide the necessary supporting information themselves.

We have produced a leaflet and video giving more information on supporting information, what it is, where to find it and how to send it to Social Security Scotland.

To find out more about disability 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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