Benefits for the Terminally Ill

Authored by , Reviewed by Dr Hayley Willacy | Last edited | Meets Patient’s editorial guidelines

Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance can be claimed quickly under special rules if you are terminally ill and are not already receiving one of these benefits.

Note: this leaflet gives a brief summary of benefits for the terminally ill and is for guidance only. It does not cover all situations, nor is it a full statement of the law. Sources of further, more detailed information are given at the end.

Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit if you are aged 65 or over and you need care. See the separate leaflet called Attendance Allowance.

Personal Independence Payment is a tax-free benefit for people aged under 65 who have care needs or problems with getting about. See the separate leaflet called Personal Independence Payment.

Employment and Support Allowance is a benefit if you are aged under 65, and have problems working because of an illness or disability. See the separate leaflet called Employment and Support Allowance.

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The definition used by the Department for Work and Pensions, when they assess a claim under the special rules, is that a person is suffering from a progressive disease, and their death can be reasonably expected within six months.

Under normal rules for Attendance Allowance and Personal Independence Payment a person has to have needed care for a certain length of time before they can get these benefits. Under the special rules there is no such qualifying period, neither does the person have to prove what care they need.

People who are terminally ill do not need to have a medical examination if they are claiming Employment and Support Allowance and they do not need to wait 13 weeks before getting a component.

This means there is much less information that the person has to enter on the claim form. Claims made under the special rules are given priority treatment.

The claim can be made either by the person who is terminally ill or by someone acting on their behalf. If the claim is made on behalf of the terminally ill person, it is not necessary for them to sign the form. This may be appropriate where a person has not been told the full nature of their condition. If the claim has been made by another person, the terminally ill person will be notified that a claim has been made for Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment. However, they will not be told that the claim has been made under the special rules.

Claims should be made on the Personal Independence Payment (people aged under 65), Attendance Allowance (people aged over 65) and Employment and Support Allowance (people aged under 65) claim forms.

A short medical report about the terminally ill person's condition must be sent in with the claim forms for Attendance Allowance and Personal Independence Payment. This report is called DS1500 and is available from a doctor, specialist or consultant.

It is not necessary to see the doctor to obtain the report. A nurse or doctor's receptionist can be asked to arrange for the report to be issued. 

End of Life Care