You may not feel particularly “disabled” by your low-grade brain tumour, but if you have side effects such as epilepsy then you may be eligible for a wide range of benefits.
If you have “Epilepsy requiring continuous anti-convulsive therapy” then you qualify for free prescriptions. Application needs to be through your GP, but more details can be found at http://www.patient.co.uk
Dependent upon your financial circumstances, you might also get help with the cost of some other NHS treatments, services and items such as sight tests and dental treatment. The booklet HC11 ‘Are you entitled to help with health costs?’ is a detailed source of information and is available from main post offices, Jobcentre Plus or NHS hospitals. Your local doctor, dentist, pharmacist and optician might also have a copy, or you can ring the Department of Health’s order line.
Telephone: 08701 555 455 (Quote the reference HC11)
You can read more and also download the leaflet in PDF format from www.direct.gov.uk
You may be eligible for help with your energy bills if you are receiving certain benefits, although this varies depending upon your energy supplier. The best place to start is by phoning the Home Heat Helpline on freefone 0800 33 66 99 for advice. Have your energy bills to hand when you call, and bear in mind that you may want to switch to a more helpful supplier if you don’t get a supportive response!
National Key Scheme for toilets
This scheme will give you a key to public toilets for disabled people across the UK. Contact Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (RADAR). Please note – there may be a small charge for this.
If losing your driving licence has made it difficult or impossible to get to your workplace, you could be entitled to financial help from the UK Government’s “Access to Work” scheme. Access to Work might pay towards the cost of getting to work if you cannot use public transport without your journey becoming too complicated or time consuming.
If you have lost your driving licence due to epilepsy, you can apply for the Disabled Persons Railcard. This means that you can get up to one third off the price of many rail tickets wherever you travel in the UK.
The Freedom Pass allows free travel on London’s public transport for older and eligible disabled people who live in a London borough. If you have lost your driving licence due to having epilepsy, you should qualify.
Many local councils have similar schemes so it is well worth contacting your local transport department for information. For an overview, check out the Department of Transport website.
Blue Badge Parking Scheme provides a range of parking concessions for people with mobility problems who have difficulty using public transport. This enables badge holders to park close to where they need to go, in the disabled badge holder reserved spaces. The scheme operates throughout the UK and also qualifies you to become exempt from the London Congestion Charge, as well as many bridge and road toll charges.
The National Federation of Shopmobility UK (NFSUK) is a UK registered Charity. It exists to support and promote its affiliated Schemes, which offer free or heavily subsidised use of wheelchairs or motorised scooters in shopping centres, town centres and some leisure related facilities. In addition NFSUK will do whatever it can to facilitate public access, and offers related guidance and information.
GP Exercise Referral Scheme
If you are suffering from mild depression or anxiety and feel that exercise would help, you can get free training by being “prescribed” exercise by your GP. There are around 1,300 schemes of this type in the UK.
Once the patient has been referred by their GP, the scheme organizers will make contact with him or her, and arrange an initial consultation with an exercise professional (someone who has been trained specifically in dealing with exercise referral populations). Referral officers understand that many patients being referred will not be used to exercise, and will make sure the plan is appropriate for their fitness levels.
The patient will then be given free or discounted access to a range of leisure facilities for a period of time (usually 3 or 6 months). These facilities may include a gym, swimming pool, exercise classes or even options such as yoga, archery or belly-dancing.
The UK Cinema Exhibitors’ Association Card entitles you to take a friend to the cinema with you for free every time you go. It costs £5 for the card which is then valid for 3 years. To qualify, you need to either
a) receive disability living allowance or attendance allowance
b) be a registered blind person
Phone 0151 348 8020 or apply via the website.
For details of free or subsidised holidays and special days out, please see the Live Your Dreams section of our website
To ease the financial pressures you may be facing, Macmillan Cancer Support awards one-off grants for a wide variety of practical needs, such as extra heating bills, extra clothing or a much needed break. You can call them free on 0800 500800.
Look Good…Feel Better was set up by the Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) and gained charitable status in 1993. Today, the Programme has the support of over 40 leading companies and brands in the Beauty Industry. They hold free skincare and make-up workshops to help combat the visible side effects of cancer treatment and, in turn, boost confidence and wellbeing.
The sessions are run weekly, fortnightly or monthly for up to 12 people. They are held in over fifty locations throughout the UK, in hospitals and cancer care centres. The Look Good Feel Better Programme is also available in 20 countries worldwide.
At the beginning of each workshop, patients are given a gift bag filled with 17 different products donated by major companies throughout the Beauty Industry. Three volunteer beauty consultants take everyone through a specially designed 12-step skincare and make-up regime. At the end of two hours of learning, fun and laughter ladies leave feeling relaxed and full of renewed confidence in their appearance. They are then free to enjoy the product gift bag or ‘cosmetic tool kit’ at home.
If you prefer, you can simply order The Look Good…Feel Better Confidence Kit via their website, for a minimal charge which just covers the postage. The Kit features an extensive DVD and 48 page booklet which gives information and guidance, not only on skincare and make-up, but also on wig selection and cutting, scarf tying and head-coverings, as well as hand and nail care. With the help of Beauty Industry experts and volunteer models, each of whom has experienced the distressing appearance-related effects of cancer treatment, the Look Good…Feel Better (LGFB) Confidence Kit takes you step-by-step through all these helpful areas.
For more information you can phone 01372 747 500 or search their website for details of workshops in your area.
Ellie’s Friends enables people living with cancer to find free and discounted services and products. They also provide information about other cancer charities offering valuable services.