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 that there’s 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 need to inform them of your situation in writing first 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. It’s not offered by all companies so talk to someone in your HR department about what’s available to you.
You might be eligible for a wide range of other benefits for both patients and carers. More information is available on the benefits page of the Citizen’s Advice website. You can also speak to one of their advisors in your local centre, or on 03444 111 444 (England) or 03444 77 20 20 (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. The Turn2Us website can support you with this.
Anthony Nolan Grants are available to people affected by stem cell transplant who have limited savings. Our one-off Grants are typically up to £150 and can help to meet a wide range of practical needs linked to transplant, such as 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 for an Anthony Nolan Grant and how to apply here.
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.
Children and young people can also apply for a CLIC Sargent Grant, if they have been diagnosed for less than 12 months.
You can search for a wide range of local and national grant schemes on the Turn2Us website. Specific grants for cancers, blood disorders and patient carers are all listed.
- 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 Citizen’s Advice can also answer any queries you have.
- Plan ahead. Start to look at other ways of getting support three months before your statutory sick pay ends.
- Read through your employee handbook (if work provides one) or talk to someone in HR to find out how your employer might be able to support you financially during this time.
- If you have been diagnosed with a blood cancer or are recovering from your transplant to treat a blood cancer, you are entitled to free prescriptions. 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 which provides this cover for you can 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.
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.
Moneysavingexpert.com – Independent consumer website that provides advice on how to reduce monthly bills and save money on a wide range of services and purchases.
The Money Advice Service – Free and impartial financial advice provided by the UK government.
Gov.uk – The UK Government’s website, with information on various benefits and how to apply for them.
Information published: 13/11/18
Next review due: 13/11/21