Support with the rising cost of living
Hello, I’m Nicci, one of the specialist nurses at Pancreatic Cancer UK.
This blog is about how to get support to help with the rising cost of living.
This is affecting lots of people at the moment. Living with cancer can also have an impact on your finances, so you may need support with this. We have put this blog together to help you quickly find the support that is available.
Money worries can be stressful. Dealing with them can help you feel less anxious. As well as the tips below, we have information about how to get support if you are feeling anxious or down.
Practical things you can do to help with the rising cost of living
Speak to your employer
If you are working, your employer must make reasonable adjustments (changes) to make sure you are not at a disadvantage because of your cancer.
Talk to them about what changes they might be able to make so that you can carry on working. This might be things like working part time for a while, or working from home. Read more about work and money.
If you are not well enough to work, ask them what the sick pay policy is and how much you will be paid. This can help you plan your finances.
Maximise your income
It’s a good idea to check whether you might be entitled to any benefits that you are not already claiming. Benefits are not just for people who aren’t working.
Macmillan Cancer Support have a benefits calculator for people with cancer in England, Wales and Scotland. If you live in Northern Ireland, you can use the general benefits calculator on the MoneySavingExpert website.
You could also contact the Macmillan welfare rights advisers. They can help you check what financial support you may be entitled to and help you with things like filling in claim forms. Some Macmillan information and support centres have advisers too. Maggie’s centres may also have benefits advisors you can speak to in person.
A grant is money given to you that you don’t have to pay back.
Macmillan Cancer Support gives small, one-off, means tested grants to help people with the extra costs that cancer can cause. This could be for things like equipment you need at home. There is more information about this and other grants you might be able to claim on the Macmillan website.
The Elizabeth Coteman Fund also gives small grants to people with pancreatic cancer who are in financial hardship. And the charity Turn2us has a grants finder which you can use to find grants that might be available to people in your local area.
Make sure you eat well
With the cost of food going up, lots of us are trying to cut down spending. But it’s particularly important for you to keep eating well when you have pancreatic cancer. There are lots of ways you can keep eating well on a smaller budget.
Some useful tips are to buy frozen or tinned fruit, vegetables and fish instead of fresh. They are just as good for you but often a lot cheaper.
If you eat meat, the cheaper cuts are often just as nutritious as the more expensive ones. They may also have more calories, which may help you maintain your weight. You can use less meat by adding cheaper proteins like lentils or beans to meat dishes.
If you don’t eat meat, buying pulses or soy mince dried and preparing them at home is often cheaper than buying them ready prepared.
It can also be a good idea to cook lots of food in one go while you have the oven on, rather than using it every day to cook smaller amounts. If you have a pressure cooker, slow cooker or microwave, these can be cheaper ways to cook than a standard cooker.
Plan your meals ahead so that you know what you need to buy and prepare while you’re cooking.
If you can, shop around and look out for deals, reductions and coupons. Here are some ideas of where to look for these:
- The MoneySavingExpert website keeps a list of current deals they have found.
- Food shops quite often reduce prices towards the end of the day or on a Sunday.
- There are lots of apps that help you to find cheap deals and even free food. This is food that is given away by restaurants and shops at the end of the day.
If you need to use a food bank, the Trussell Trust has a tool to help you find food banks near you.
There’s more general information about diet and pancreatic cancer on our website.
Get help with household bills
The rising cost of energy is affecting a lot of people at the moment, so you may be thinking of ways to use less energy. But it’s really important that you put your health first. For example, you might need to keep the heating on more to keep warm. There is help available if you are struggling with bills.
- There is some support from the government. The charity Citizens Advice keeps an up-to-date summary of how government support will apply to people in different circumstances. You can also read more about this on the MoneySavingExpert website.
- If you’re struggling to pay energy or water bills, tell your supplier that you have cancer. They may be able to find ways to help reduce these costs, or spread them over a longer time so that it’s easier to pay them.
- You may also be able to get money off your council tax bill, or your rates bill if you live in Northern Ireland. Macmillan Cancer Support have more information on how to do this in their article on help with housing costs. And they have advisors you can speak to on the phone.
There is more information about help with bills on the Macmillan website, and Macmillan Cancer Support have dedicated energy advisors you can speak to for help.
It might also be a good idea to see if there are ways you can save energy that won’t affect your health. Macmillan Cancer Support has some information specifically on keeping warm and being energy efficient.
Deal with rent and mortgage payments
You may be able to get help from your mortgage lender if you are worried that you can’t afford your monthly payments. Get in touch with them and discuss it. There are things they might be able to do to reduce your monthly payment amount.
If you’re renting, you should speak to your landlord and try to reach an agreement with them. You may also be able to get Universal Credit to help pay your rent if you are unable to work, or on a low income.
Useful sources of information, support and tips on the cost of living
There is lots more support and advice available to help you deal with the rising cost of living and the financial pressures of pancreatic cancer. The organisations below can be good places to go for more information and help.
- Citizens Advice provides free, confidential and impartial advice on things like money and debt, work, benefits and more. You can contact them either online, over the phone or in person.
- The Elizabeth Coteman Fund gives small grants to people with pancreatic cancer who are struggling financially, for equipment and respite. They also provide support and friendship to those affected by pancreatic cancer.
- The Energy Saving Trust gives advice and support on home energy efficiency.
- Macmillan Cancer Support has lots of information and advisors you can speak to about financial matters, including benefits, energy bills, and housing costs. They also give other types of support to people with cancer.
- Maggie’s provide information on money and benefits for people with cancer, and often have advisors in their centres. They also give other types of support to people with cancer.
- MoneySavingExpert is a website with tips and information for the general public about how to save money and understand your finances better.
- Turn2us is a charity focused on helping people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help.
We are here for you
Thank you for reading our blog, we hope it has been helpful.
If you need someone to speak to about pancreatic cancer, you can of course speak to one of our nurse specialists on the Support Line. You can get in touch via email at email@example.com or pick up the phone and call us on 0808 801 0707.
We know things may be tough at the moment. We are here for you.
Published 24 November 2022
We would like to thank Citizens Advice for kindly checking this information.
This information was accurate when it was published, and we update it regularly, but things can change quickly. So do check the links above for the latest information.