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Welfare benefits

Living with a blood cancer can increase your living costs and you may struggle to continue work whilst being treated or recovering. But there is help available to you.

If you have to give up work, whether it’s permanently or temporarily, it can have an effect on your income and your finances. This may be because you will have less money coming in and have to pay for various other things you wouldn’t have had to before, such as travelling to and from the hospital. There will always be support available for you if you find you are struggling to financially support yourself and your family during yours or your loved one’s cancer journey.

If you find that you are unable to keep working, it may be possible that you can claim Statutory Sick Pay or Employment and Support Allowance for the period that you are out of work due to your cancer.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) can be claimed from your employer if you are employed, earn at least £111 a week and are cannot work because of ill health or disability. If you have any cancer, legally you are classed as disabled (even if you don't feel like you are). SSP is paid at a fixed rate of £87.55 a week. There is a standard rate for this and it is paid for a maximum of 28 weeks. If you have contractual sick pay in your work contract then you may be entitled to this as well as receiving SSP.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is for people who cannot work due to illness or disability and are unable to receive Statutory Sick Pay. To claim ESA you will usually have to undergo various tests to confirm that you have limited capability for work.

You can find more information about work and cancer by visiting Macmillan Cancer Support at


Published: Feb 2016

Next planned review: Feb 2018