If you’ve had to take time off work, it can lead to anxiety around money and being able to pay your bills. It’s one of the main reasons why some people return to work earlier than they really should after their transplant.
It’s important to remember there can be money available to you during this time to help ease your financial worries:
Unfortunately, some of the financial support offered by cancer charities is only available to patients with blood cancer and not to those with blood disorders. Where possible, we have tried to also suggest alternatives that can benefit all stem cell transplant patients.
Sick pay and benefits
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): You can claim SSP if you are in employment and off work for longer than four consecutive days. It’s paid to you by your employer, but you first need to inform them of your situation in writing and get a ‘fit note’ from your doctor or nurse. You can claim for up to 28 weeks (7 months).
Occupational/company sick pay: You may be entitled to extra sick pay that is paid for by your employer. The amount of money and for how long you receive it will vary from company to company. Not all companies offer this so talk to someone in your HR department about what’s available to you.
Other benefits: You might be eligible for a wide range of other benefits for both patients and carers. More information on benefits is available on the Citizens Advice website. You can also speak to one of their advisors in your local centre, or on 0800 144 8848 (England) or 0800 702 2020 (Wales).
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to apply for a grant from various charities and other organisations. You will need to fill in a form and explain how the money could help you with your recovery. Some potential options include the following:
- Anthony Nolan Grants are available to people affected by stem cell transplant who have limited savings. Our one-off Grants are up to £250 and can help to meet a wide range of practical needs linked to transplant. For example, travel costs, hospital parking fees or money towards a new mattress or washing machine to help reduce your infection risk. Find out if you may be eligible and how to apply for an Anthony Nolan Grant.
- Macmillan offers one-off payments to help with everyday living costs for people recovering from cancer treatment. The grants are intended for people with little or no savings, and the amount given will depend on your needs and situation.
- Young Lives vs Cancer offers grants to children and young people. They can apply if they have been diagnosed for less than 12 months.
- You can also search for a wide range of local and national grant schemes on the Turn2Us website. They list specific grants for cancers, blood disorders and patient carers.
Cost of living crisis
The cost of living crisis is having a significant impact on stem cell transplant patients and their families.
At Anthony Nolan we’re hearing from patients struggling to afford to heat their homes, buy food and pay for travel to and from hospital, all of which are vital for survival.
We are running a survey to better understand how stem transplant and CAR T-Cell patients and their families are being affected and what support is needed.
If you are a patient or carer and are being impacted, we’re asking you to make your voice heard and share your experiences with our team who are campaigning on your behalf.
- You can complete the survey at: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/AnthonyNolanCostOfLiving
- Some of the forms can be tricky to fill in, so make sure you get help from your welfare advisor or social worker. Staff at Citizens Advice can also answer any queries you have.
- Plan ahead as much as possible. Start to look at other ways of getting support three months before your statutory sick pay ends.
- Find out how your employer might be able to support you financially during this time. Read through your employee handbook (if your workplace provides one) or talk to someone in HR.
- Your are entitled to free prescriptions if you have been diagnosed with a blood cancer, or you're recovering from your transplant to treat a blood cancer. Ask your doctor for a medical exemption application form. Unfortunately, blood disorder patients are not covered by the same scheme. However, you may be able to get free prescriptions using the NHS Low Income Prescription Scheme.
- You may have policies such as house, health or life insurance that entitle you to a payment following diagnosis. The company providing your cover will be able to give you specific advice.
Organisations that can help
Citizens Advice – Provides all UK residents with free advice and information on money and coping with debt, employment concerns and consumer issues.
GOV.uk – The UK Government’s website, with information on various benefits and how to apply for them.
Macmillan Cancer Support – Extensive information on how to cope with financial concerns during your recovery.
Maggie’s – Offers free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their families and friends.
Blood Cancer UK - Info on financial support available, updated during the cost of living crisis.
Money Helper – Free and impartial financial advice provided by the UK government.
MoneySavingExpert – Independent consumer website that provides advice on how to reduce monthly bills and save money on a wide range of services and purchases.
Information published: 23/12/21
Next review due: 23/12/24