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Take a closer look at the government's proposed changes to benefits and how they would have affected people living with cancer.
In 2011 the government announced plans to make sweeping changes to the welfare system. Macmillan agreed that the system needed to be simplified. But the proposals, laid out in the Welfare Reform Bill, could have pushed some people with cancer and their families into poverty. That’s why we campaigned to ‘Put the Fair into Welfare’.
We identified three ways the Bill should be changed so they wouldn't lose vital benefits.
Under the government’s proposals, people eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who have paid National Insurance but are not considered severely ill, will only receive this support for one year.
After this time, the support will be dependent on your financial circumstances, and people with cancer will lose their benefit if their partner earns as little as £149 per week. As a result some will be pushed into poverty as it often takes longer than a year to return to work following a cancer diagnosis.
Everyone eligible for ESA to receive it for as long as they need it, regardless of their financial circumstances.
Cancer patients who receive non oral chemotherapy are considered to be severely ill and automatically receive ESA. However, cancer patients receiving oral chemotherapy or radiotherapy have to undergo an assessment and may have to do job interview practice to get ESA.
We know that the side-effects of oral chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be just as physically and psychologically debilitating as non oral chemotherapy, yet the benefits system treats these patients differently.
Patients receiving oral chemotherapy and radiotherapy to be automatically eligible for ESA, just like patients receiving non oral chemotherapy.
To receive DLA you have to prove that for the last three months you've needed additional support because of your disability. This could include support with transport costs or additional care. The government want to double the time you will have to wait to six, rather than three months, before you can receive this vital support.
People who suddenly have significant needs, because of a disability or health condition, and face extra costs to receive support as soon as they need it.
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ESA is designed to help people who can’t work because of their disability or long-term condition.
People who become severely ill will automatically receive ESA while others who are not as ill, but still unable to work, may be required to undertake activities such as job interview practice in order to receive it.
DLA helps people face the extra costs of living with a disability. The government is going to replace DLA with the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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