Disability Living Allowance

I have been told by several people that when you are undergoing chemotherapy you are automatically entitled to DLA. Is this true? Regardless of income and they just pay it straight away. It would certainly help as I think I may have to get a cleaner in. I am sooooo tired with a lot of extra washing etc owing to infections.

It’s not automatic Starfish.

I applied when on my first bout of chemo but was turned down.
My Mum happened to visit the local citizen’s advice about another matter and got chatting to a lady there about the decision. She was horrifed and said I should have asked them to help me complete the forms.

It might be worth getting some advice. I do remember it was a ridiculously long form to complete.

good luck,

hi Starfish,
I am no expert in benefits but I do not think that this is the case at all. Other threads have indicated that some ladies have failed to be successful in their claims. I think that with secondary cancer you do qualify to receive it but that undergoing chemotherapy alone does not automatically qualify you.

You cannot claim DLA until you have needed assistance with care and mobility for at least three months and expect this to be the case for a further 6. So for most poeple with primary BC this would not apply, whereas with secondaries you usually qualify


I was told when I was diagnosed with my primary breast cancer last year I was not entitled to anything but Incapacity Benefit.
I now have secondaries and was advised by cancer support that I would not get DLA unless it was applied for under the special rules…which is where your Oncologist has to sign a form (I think its a DS1500 form?) stating you have an estimated 12 months life expectancy (but the benefit is reviewed again in 3 years time)

Im sorry if this is not the answer you wanted to hear.


Hi Starfish,

My late husband was awarded highest rate of disability benefit from day 1 of his primary diagnosis. This was all sorted out by his McMillan Nurse. I have not applied for any benefits since my own diagnosis so I can’t say if this is always the case. Surely you must be entitled to something even if it’s only incapacity benefit.

Love Traceyxxxxx

Hi Starfish

The following link will take you to the DirectGov site which gives more information about what you can claim for when you have an illness or disability;


Best wishes


I was told by the advisor at the Maggies centre who filled in my DLA forms that it is very rare that you get DLA for cancer diagnosis but she has applied for it due to my Bi polar depression which Ive had for years.


I think the advice you were given at Maggies Centre was slightly incorrect Joanne - I have been awarded the highest level of mobility and care DLA but I have, as others who has posted above, got secondaries.

I’ve not heard of many people getting DLA for a primary diagnosis of breast cancer as very often it’s the treatment that makes you feel incapacitated for a relatively short period of time whereas with secondaries it’s the actual disease that can incapacitate us.

Hi all,

I was awarded the highest rate of care component, DLA indefinitely under the special rules in 2002 due to secondary cancer. I never applied for the mobility component. My case was reviewed earlier this year by DSS, apparently under a rolling programme of reviews. I had to fill out a special review form which I did with the help of Welfare rights and my GP or oncologist were also asked to provide information. I was subsequently awarded the middle rate, not due just to my secondary cancer but because of my limited physical ability now. According to Welfare Rights, DSS are now reviewing " Special rules " cases more regularly in view of of greater "survivorship "nowadays.

I have to say that my discussions with the DLA section at Blackpool were sympathetic and supportive although I am sure that some people may not get such a good response.

I would recommend anyone who is applying for DLA for the first time or under review to contact their local welfare rights office. For me, they were just brilliant and very knowledgable in completing the form.

Wendy x

Many thanks for all your comments. I just thought I would check. Hopefully I am only primary and from what I have read on here before i see that secondary diagnosis would get it which is to be expected. But I have a friend who had a primary bc and is adamant that I am entitled to it and she got it and no questions asked. Maybe I should ask here how? It was seven years ago though.

Once again thanks for all your excellent advice.

Hi everyone,
I’ve got secondaries and applied under the special rules but was turned down(probably shouldn’t have filled in the form myself-my mistake!)I’ve appealed against the decision because I now suffer from aches and pains in my joints.I know that other people in the same position as me have been accepted so think it’s unfair that I haven’t.
Alli x

I have secondaries . my Macmillan nurse said I was entitled to DLA and took the form and filled it out for me. I was awarded the higher rate which has been a godsend.


Starfish - I’m quite sure in 7 years DLA has definately changed its rules under eligibility. Also as others said, to qualify for any form of DLA when have primary diagnosis, you have to be ill for at least 3 months before applying and expect the disability caused by the cancer or its treatment to last for at least another 6 months after application so very few people with primary diagnosis get DLA as most treatments are not as long as over 9 months or causes enough problems to meet the strict criteria. It’s very sad and unfair and if you are struggling financially then you need to see the citizens advice bureau, maggies centres or ring the MacMillan Benefits line.
Once diagnosed with secondaries, it is often the problems that the cancer causes like bony spread so unable to walk or lung mets so can’t breathe etc which helps people get DLA or else you can get it under Special Rules when you have a life expectancy of 6 months or less but in reality they review it after 3 years!!!
Moderator - this question comes up frequently -please can you have a link page to DWP/DLA/Special Rules/ citizens advice/ Maggie centres/Macmillan Benefit number. This question was covered in depth only a few months ago so is easily found in the search engine of the site but if you are new to the site then it is difficult to find your way around.

Hi Kate

Thanks for this suggestion, it is a commonly discussed issue and we can certainly look into this. Hope you are feeling ok.

Best wishes