BENEFITS: Welfare Bill will hit cancer patients

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Macmillan Cancer Support is highlighting the extra financial burden that many people with cancer face due to extra costs as a result of treatment and/or loss of income. We are also warning that potential changes to the benefits system could leave many without a financial lifeline.

Nationally, more people with cancer than ever (over 85,000) depended on Macmillan to understand and access the benefits and tax credits system, including getting help to fill in complex and often time-consuming forms, as well as tribunal representation from our local benefits advice services.

The growing number of people with cancer turning to us with money worries is a stark reminder of the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis when, on average, their income halves and outgoings rocket. The support that organisations like Macmillan provide are becoming even more urgent and important, but we cannot do it alone.

Every sector has a duty to protect people with cancer from further turmoil. Yet the government, through its Welfare Reform and Work Bill, is proposing to reduce the benefits of people with cancer who are unable to return to work because they’re not well enough by around £30 a week.

Macmillan is calling on the government to remove the proposed cut as we believe it will risk pushing the most vulnerable over the edge financially. People can find more at our ‘Put the Fair into Welfare’ campaign site at www.macmillan.org.uk/campaigns

Macmillan offers financial and benefits advice to anyone affected by cancer. To speak to a welfare or financial expert, call free on 0808 808 0000, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, or visit www.macmillan.org.uk/benefits

Dawn Graham

Senior Development Manager for the North East