Caring for a terminally ill parent - No SSP left

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We were informed at start of February that my mum had weeks left to live so I took leave from work.  She got out of hospital at start of March and I stayed off work to care for her.  Unfortunately, she is now back in hospital with acute pain and they have said she hasn't long left.  I was informed by HR yesterday that I have used up my SSP / entitlement. This means I will be x2 months without any pay - I am unsure if I will be back next month depending on whether mum stays in hospital, returns home or hospice.   I wanted to check if I can apply for any benefits at this difficult time?  HR mentioned Disability Allowance but it is not me who is sick. Also, someone mentioned carer credits?  Any information would be helpful.  Many thanks :) 

  • Hi Arl25 

    Thank you for contacting us here at Macmillan.  My name is Linda and I am a Work Support Advisor on Macmillan’s National Support Line.  My team provides guidance on your rights at work if you or someone else is affected by cancer.

    I am sorry to hear about your mum’s cancer diagnosis and poor prognosis. I appreciate that it must be a very difficult time for you.


    I can see that you are enquiring about Benefit Entitlement due to your Statutory Sick Pay ending. We have a team of Welfare Rights Advisers here at Macmillan who can complete a full Benefit Check for you.

    They can be contacted between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am until 5pm Saturday and Sunday on 0808 808 0000, options 1, 2 and 2; via email or using our webchat service.

    I would also like to make you aware that the Equality Act 2010, if you live in England, Scotland or Wales or Disability Discrimination Act 1995, if you live in Northern Ireland, protects carers from discrimination by association, as the person they care for is disabled due to their diagnosis. This means that an Employer may not discriminate against you due to your Caring responsibilities for your mum.

    You can ask your Employer if they have a Carers Policy in place and if so, ask for a copy of it.

    Some options could be:

    Carers leave – paid or unpaid, compassionate leave, borrowing holiday days from the next year or buying additional days, careers breaks and sabbaticals.

    As there are no laws covering taking a career break, it is advisable to have the agreement in writing. An employer may have career breaks included in their policy. It is important to check that the person can return to the same role and whether the pay and conditions remain the same and whether the length of service is not broken. Also, as to whether there is any payment during the absence. Acas has further information about this on the link below:

    ACAS career breaks

    Flexible working

    There is a statutory right to formally request flexible working after 26 weeks continuous service. The process is to request once in a 12 month period. An employer must consider the request in a fair way and they may have a specific form to complete. If the employer does not agree with the request there should be an opportunity to appeal or to take the complaint further. However, there is no right to flexible working and it can be rejected for business reasons. When an employer agrees to the request the terms and conditions of the employment should be changed.

    Time off in an Emergency

    Employees have a legal right to take a reasonable amount of time off work to deal with an emergency for the person cared for. This would not normally apply to planned hospital appointments. An employer has no obligation to pay an employee for time off unless stated in the employment contract.



     I do hope this has answered your concerns but please do not hesitate to get back in touch if you have any further questions.


    Kind Regards


    Work Support Advisor


    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email