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It is something of a jungle pathway to determine current benefits and entitlements – much has changed in recent years. Different processes, rules and forms may apply in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and individual circumstances will affect the amounts available. We claim no expertise in this area but can provide some links (and would be grateful for any corrections on the information below if found). Probably the most current and expert help can be gained from pages on the Macmillan website.
The primary source of information comes from Government and a good starting point is here. For those in work, your employer will be able to give you details on statutory sick pay. For tax credits look on the HMRC website. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau can be a good source of help in navigating the jungle of information.
Where applicable, it is worth keeping an eye out for:
Community Care Grants. This is for patients receiving Income Support or Pension Credit to enable them to come home. It can help pay some travel costs, or pay for child care in certain circumstances.
Free prescriptions. Some patients may be entitled to free prescriptions and NHS wigs. Ask your doctor.
Essential travel costs, Blue Badges and Road tax. Essential travel costs for patient and carer to and from hospital may be met if on income support or income-based jobseekers allowance. Blue Badges entitle holders to park in disabled spaces sometimes free of charge or with unlimited time. Road tax exemption may be available for drivers. www.dft.gov.uk
VAT exemption. Relief is available for the chronically sick or disabled, including cancer sufferers, when buying items designed to help with the disability (e.g. adjustable beds, emergency call systems, special vehicles, hoists). Ask the supplier to give you a declaration of exemption to sign.
Home care services. Social Services will provide an assessment if asked, which may help with subsidies. Home modifications may be considered by local authorities if needed. The Red Cross may help with equipment e.g. a wheelchair, and organisations such as Macmillan and Marie Curie can help with advice, nursing and care (see our page on useful contacts). Carers may be entitled to a Carer’s allowance.
In the event that you are a bereaved relative or named friend of someone who has died you will need to contact a funeral director and to register the death. People at the hospital, hospice or GP surgery will be able to give you advice. The procedure in England and Wales is to register the death with the local Registrar within five days (if a Coroner is involved then the Coroner has to give permission first). The Register Office will require the medical certificate showing cause of death given by the doctor and, if possible: the person’s medical card, and marriage certificate. A ‘green form’ will be issued which you will need to give to the funeral director along with a form BD8 which allows benefits etc. to be claimed. You will need multiple copies of the death certificate from the Registrar (there is a fee) for lawyers (the Will), insurance companies, mobile phone companies etc.