Practical issues

Share experiences and advice on practical issues when living with cancer, such as money, work, benefits, transport, food and drink, organising support at home, or getting specialist equipment.

Working and benefits

Posted by

I'm newly diagnosed with breast cancer and wondered if anyone had similar financial concerns to me.  I'm presently working and would love to continue doing ad hoc casual work when I feel fit to do so.  The problem is I'm not going to be able to earn enough to live on.  I have some small savings but not enough to pay the rent for the likely duration of my treatment.  I'm unsure how the benefit system works for someone like me.  I used to claim just Housing Benefit a few years ago, but now I believe you have to claim Universal Credit.  This means I would be told to look for more work at a time when I would probably be unfit to do any work at all much of the time.  I believe you can claim ESA (though again unsure how it works when your benefits are contribution-based, ie. you've paid enough NI) and you can still do some work.  I'm also aware you can claim PIP.  

It seems like I'd have to choose between trying to get enough work and using my savings to try and live on or claim benefits and have to give up work altogether to try and get ESA and get in the support group.  Does anyone have any experience of a similar situation?



Posted by

Hi Janet12 welcome to the forum.

I wondered if you felt able to to pick up the phone and ask for the Welfare and Benefits team at Macmillan as they will be able to help you with this. They will be available in the am on 08088080000.

The other thing I wondered about is if you wanted to post your question into the Breast Cancer thread on this site which I have included a link to for you you just need to click on this and it will take you straight to this. Some of the folks on there may have some info  they can share which may be of help for you.

Link to Breast Cancer forum

Sending very best wishes for now. xxx

Posted by

Hi Janet

I used to work in the Jobcentre. Not every area of Britain has rolled out Universal Credit, just to let you know. If you are on UC and have a disability /health condition it is taken into account as to how many hours of work you are able to do in a week. 

People on ESA can only do a limited amount of work, called permitted work, before it affects their benefits. And it has to be under 16 hours per week. 

Housing benefit is paid in arras not under the Universal Credit regime.

But the Macmillan helpline would be the place to go. And you should try and claim PIP, as you might be successful. 

Good luck my lovely

Alison xxx 

Posted by

Hi Gail and Alison

Thanks ever so for your advice.  Sorry I'm a bit tardy with this reply, I had to ask for assistance to navigate this website (I couldn't see the box you type in!).  I will try putting this post in the breast cancer group and see if anyone has had any similar experience there.  Also, I'll ring Macmillan when I've got a minute. 

I just wanted to ask, Alison, you mention the 16 hours you can work, would you know how a sleep-in shift is counted?  I do a sleep-in shift lasting 10 hours for which I'm paid a flat rate of approx. £30.  There is also a 10 hour day shift around this for which I'm paid an hourly rate.

Many thanks once again.