Funding boost for benefits advisors helping cancer patients struggling with financial impact of their diagnosis

Katherine Johnston (23 January, 2019) Health

Eight out of ten cancer patients say they are £570 worse off each month

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A welfare advice service for cancer patients struggling to make ends meet has been given enough funding to stay open until the end of this year.

Macmillan Cancer Support says a cancer diagnosis can be a huge financial burden, with eight out of ten patients saying their illness leaves them £570 worse off each month.

Run in partnership with Citizens Advice, a team of specialist benefits advisors based at Peckham’s Citizens Advice Bureau has helped more than 1,250 cancer patients and their families receive more than two million pounds worth of benefits they were entitled to.

The scheme has also helped 124 people in poverty receive special grants from the charity to pay for daily essentials such as heating or clothes, with more than £54,000 paid out in total.

Support from welfare advisors is a life-line for people treated for cancer, helping them navigate paperwork during a tough time.

The team gives free and confidential advice and also helps link them up with colleagues who can help with managing debt, employment or housing problems.

Macmillan’s partnership manager for south east London said: “Cancer doesn’t just affect you physically, it can impact all aspects of your life.

“And for many, a cancer diagnosis can mean money worries – due to being unable to work, hospital travel costs, or increased heating bills.”

She said she was delighted the charity had been able to fully fund the team’s work until the end of this year.

One in two people in the UK are likely to get cancer in their lifetime. Right now, there are more than 200,000 people in London living with cancer.

Chris Green, chief executive of Citizens Advice Southwark, said: “It is fantastic news for south east London that Macmillan Cancer Support will continue to fund this service for another year.

“We know it has a hugely positive impact on local people living with cancer and helps ensure they have access to the best quality advice and support, no matter what stage of their cancer journey they are at.”

If you are a cancer patient and need financial advice, call Macmillan Citizens Advice Service on 0344 499 4134 or visit citizensadvicesouthwark.org

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