It has recently been reported that UK jobcentres reporting a rise of 126% in claimants since the start of lockdown and job vacancies are at a record low. People living with cancer are not only facing the effects of the declining economy, but may also fall victim to financial struggles as a result of their diagnosis.
When people think of Macmillan Cancer Support, they often think of Macmillan nurses. However, the cancer charity funds and supports not only nurses, but a wide range of health and social care professionals, including welfare benefits advisers.
It may not be the first thing you think about, but being diagnosed with cancer can be tough on your finances. You may earn less if you need to stop working or reduce your hours. You may spend more on everyday costs like heating and travelling to hospital. That’s why Macmillan has funded benefits advisers in Coventry, to give people living with cancer the support and guidance they need to make money one less worry.
With unemployment rates predicted to rise over the coming months , along with delayed cancer diagnoses, Macmillan Welfare Benefits Adviser, Balwant Nahal, who is a Macmillan Specialist Benefits Adviser at the Macmillan Benefits Advice Service in Coventry and Warwickshire, wants to offer a few tips on how people affected by cancer can manage their finances and cope with the financial impact of both cancer and coronavirus.
Balwant, said, ‘The double-blow of an NHS cancer crisis and the deepest economic recession in decades is making it more difficult than ever for people living with cancer to face the cost of cancer.
In these unprecedented times, it’s never been more important to obtain free, independent, impartial and professional advice on your entitlements. From seeking advice on furlough for the employed and benefit claims such as Universal Credit, to the Self Employment Income Scheme, we have had a variety of enquiries from clients affected by cancer.
Clients have also raised concerns about holding onto their employment with increase in redundancy announcements. This is where we have been able to step in and give advice on their rights and entitlements.
Our top tips for people affected by cancer and during these unprecedented times, include:
•Get advice early – Even if your income may not have been affected it may still be useful to have the conversation in the event things were to change. To help you plan and stay in control of important decisions
•Speak to a reputable organisation who is expert at what they do – you won’t know what you might be entitled to unless you have the conversation. There are free services such as Citizens Advice ready to help with dedicated services for those with Cancer.
•Help comes in many forms not all help is means tested, so you may be missing out. If you are not eligible there may be help for those caring for you.
•Don’t make assumptions and that you won’t be eligible. Financial help comes in the form of non means tested, grants as well the means test.
•The benefits system is complex and you may not have claimed before. There are professional, dedicated services ready to help.
•It’s important to know your rights!
If a cancer diagnosis has had an impact on your finances, contact the Macmillan Benefits Advice Service in Coventry and Warwickshire on 02476 252050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
1.Labour market overview UK, 19 May 2020, https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/may2020#unemployment
2.June 2020, Learning and work institute, https://learningandwork.org.uk/what-we-do/employment-and-social-security/labour-market-analysis/june-2020/
Notes to Editors:
About Macmillan Cancer Support
We know cancer worries can’t wait. And we’re here to help. We are doing everything we can to support you right now, whether you’re concerned about symptoms, your treatment, your finances, or need to talk to someone who understands.
For information, support or just someone to talk to, call 0808 808 00 00 or visit macmillan.org.uk.