What help is available?
If you’re very ill and don't have long to live, there are special rules that apply that mean your claim for disability benefits may be fast-tracked and paid at the highest rate.
Please see 'Where can I get further advice and support?' for more help and guidance at this very difficult time.
What are the special rules?
- Your claim can be fast-tracked so you won’t have to go to a face-to-face assessment and will receive your payment sooner.
- You will automatically qualify for the higher rate of the benefit.
- You won’t have to fill in all the forms.
Which benefits are covered?
The special rules cover disability benefits for people who need help with personal care, daily living or getting around:
- Personal Independence Payment – if you’re over 16 and under State People age
- Attendance Allowance – if you’re over State Pension age
- Disability Living Allowance – for children under 16. DLA for adults has been replaced by PIP, but some adults may still be receiving DLA if they haven’t been transferred to PIP.
The special rules also cover benefits for people who are too unwell to work very much, or at all:
- Employment and Support Allowance – if you’re ill or disabled and can’t work, or have a limited ability to work
- Universal Credit – if you’re on a low income, out of work, or ill or disabled and unable to work.
Who is eligible?
You can now get fast-track access to disability benefits if you’re not expected to live for more than 12 months. (This used to be six months prior to April 2023.) However, it’s very difficult to predict how long someone will live, and some people who receive disability benefits under these rules live for much longer.
Even if you’re applying under the special rules, you must still qualify for the benefit to make a claim.
How can I claim?
Read our pages about each benefit to find out how to claim.
You may be asked to send in a DS1500 form with your claim. This provides information about your illness or condition. You can ask your GP to fill it in, or your consultant or specialist nurse.
Don’t delay your claim if you’re waiting for the DS1500 form. Send in your claim form as soon as possible and you can send the report later.
Where can I get further advice and support?
This period may be very difficult to cope with emotionally and you may find it helpful to consider receiving some mental health support whilst going through the process. If you feel overwhelmed, you could ask your doctor if they could help refer you to a counsellor or therapy service.
Marie Curie also offers specialist services and support for anyone facing or affected by terminal illness: www.mariecurie.org.uk
Together for short lives and the Rainbow Trust provide services for seriously ill children, their families and carers.