8 February 2010
An advice service that has helped 1,200 people affected by cancer in Glasgow claim financial help is to be expanded to help people with other long term medical conditions.
The Macmillan Benefits Service Glasgow has generated an impressive £4million in financial support for its clients since it was established just over a year ago.
A partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support, Glasgow City Council, The Pension Service andNHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, its success has now paved the way for a new financial advice service aimed at helping even more people in Glasgow.
Now an innovative service involving additional partner organisations has been developed by Glasgow City Council to assist people with a range of long-term disabling conditions who experience financial hardship.
The new service, called the Long Term Conditions Financial Inclusion Partnership, will be launched on 1 February 2010 at a special event at Glasgow City Chambers.
The expanded partnership will now include the Council, Macmillan Cancer Support, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland, Glasgow Housing Association, The Pension Service and Job Centre Plus.
Elspeth Atkinson, Macmillan Cancer Support’s director for Scotland, said:
'Since it was established just over a year ago, the Macmillan Benefits Service Glasgow has made a huge impact.
'By helping people to maximise their income, this service aims to make life more tolerable for people affected by cancer.
'We know that our financial advice services are highly effective and we are convinced that this type of help will also be of great benefit to people with long term medical conditions, their families and carers.'
Diagnosis of a serious illness can have an enormous impact on someone’s income and many people don’t realise they are eligible for financial help from government.
As well as identifying the welfare benefits and hardship grants patients may be entitled to, workers also fill in the complex forms and will appeal if their client’s application is unsuccessful.
The Macmillan Benefits Service Glasgow and the Long Term Conditions Financial Inclusion Partnership also provide help to carers and families.
City Treasurer Bailie Gordon Matheson said:
'When someone experiences a serious long-term condition, such as heart disease or a respiratory illness, their life changes fundamentally. Diagnosis can have a major effect on a family’s income at a time when people may struggle to access benefits.
'By introducing very tightly focused support that takes into account the customer’s condition – and the impact it has on every aspect of their life – we can ease that stress and help them to concentrate solely on improving their health.
'Targeted help for vulnerable people is a key priority for the Council and I am certain this project can build on the success of our partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support to help thousands more Glaswegians protect both their health and their wealth.'
Someone who is grateful to the support his family received from the service is Colin McLaren, of Dennistoun, Glasgow. His father Billy died last year at the age of 68 after being diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Before he died, the Macmillan Benefits Service (Glasgow) secured a range of financial benefits for Billy and his wife Elise, including Attendance Allowance and Carers Allowance. The service also secured a Macmillan Grant of £300 to help pay heating costs and a Blue Disabled Parking Badge.
'As my dad had worked hard all his life, he wouldn’t have known what benefits he was entitled to. Due to the strain of coping with the illness, my parents were also in no position to start filling out forms.
'It was a huge relief to them when Henri Krishna, the benefits adviser, came to see them, especially as the household bills had risen so much.
'As my dad felt the cold more during his treatment and the heating was on all the time, the fuel bills were rising massively and so to get some help to pay the bills was a huge weight off their mind.'
If you’re affected by cancer and would like to talk to someone from the Macmillan Benefits Service Glasgow, call 0141 420 8123. Further information is also available by calling 0808 808 00 00 or by visiting www.macmillan.org.uk .
To find out more about the Long Term Conditions Financial Inclusion Partnership, telephone 0141 287 5901. Further information is available at www.glasgow.gov.uk .