Ask The Nurse // 3rd January 2019
Dealing with unexpected financial worries or a change in finances can be challenging for myeloma patients. This can become more difficult during the festive season and carry on through to January when household bills arrive through the letterbox. As a result, the Infoline can receive more calls asking for advice about managing finances around this time of year. Therefore, this month’s blog will focus on finances.
Are there any benefits or credits I may be entitled to?
There are a number of different benefits and credits you may be able to claim. The potential benefits and credits can help top up your income (e.g. tax credits), help you with essential costs (e.g. Housing Benefit or Universal Credit), help replace earnings (e.g. Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit), help with the extra costs of being disabled or having a long-term health condition (e.g. Personal Independence Payment (PIP)).
The type and number of benefits you may be entitled to will vary from person to person and may be affected by your savings, you and your partner’s income, the benefits and pensions you and anyone living with you are currently receiving, your outgoings (e.g. your rent, mortgage or childcare payments), as well as your age.
How do I find out if I am entitled to any benefits?
A social worker can provide information on any extra help which might be available and can help you with the necessary forms or put you in touch with a local welfare rights officer. You can get in touch with a social worker by contacting your local social service department or through a referral from a healthcare professional.
Alternatively, Citizen’s Advice, Macmillan Cancer Support or Turn2us may also be able to give you some guidance regarding your finances. Here are the contact details, should you wish to get in touch with them:
- You can contact Citizens Advice via their website www.citizensadvice.org.uk or by telephone 03444 111 444 (England), 03444 772 070 (Wales), 0808 800 9060 (Scotland) your local office (Northern Ireland)
- You can contact Macmillan Cancer Support via their website www.macmillan.org.uk or by telephone 0808 808 0000
- You can contact Turn2us via their website www.turn2us.org.uk or by telephone 0808 802 2000. Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial hardship gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services
How do I know if my insurance policies can help cover my costs?
Some life insurance and mortgage insurance policies will provide critical illness cover, short-term income protection or payment protection. It is worth contacting your insurance company directly to find out what your specific policy covers. If you have a financial advisor (or access to one at your bank or building society), they may also be able to tell you more about your policy.
Are there any other ways I could get financial assistance?
There are a number of discounts you could apply for as a consequence of ongoing medical treatment or loss of income such as the Warm Home Discount and Council Tax discount. You may also qualify for help with dental costs, eye-care costs, NHS prescriptions and help with travel costs to hospital appointments.
For more information about finances, you can read the finances section in the Myeloma UK “Infopack for living well with myeloma” or the Myeloma UK Infosheet “Managing your finances (benefits)” which are available to download from the Myeloma UK website.
The Myeloma UK Information Specialist Team