Friday 1st July 2016
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Summer 2016
‘The Financial Guidance Service provides impartial guidance on a range of personal finance issues.'
'People can call us with questions about mortgages, pensions, insurance, taxes or banking, among other areas. We can help guide them through their options so they can make decisions and take action. In some cases we can also step in and act on someone’s behalf – for example if they have a dispute with a pension provider, or if we feel there is something unfair in the way they have been treated by a company.
A caller might have a question about the meaning of some wording on one of their financial documents, for example, or about how to start a life insurance policy when they’ve had cancer.
In one case, a lady called with some questions about travel insurance. I helped her withthat, but one of the things we also do as financial guides is to open up the conversation and explore other areas people might need help with. I asked if she had health insurance and she told me she had a critical illness policy. It was over one year after her cancer diagnosis and she hadn’t made a claim, so I encouraged her to do so. She was hesitant because she thought she had missed their 12- month claiming period policy. I suggested that she should try to claim anyway, and explain that she had been having cancer treatment; there are reasons why people may take longer to claim in that situation, for example if chemotherapy is affecting their memory. After making a claim she received around £20,000 from her insurer. She had a 16 year-old daughter and put it towards her university fund.
We’re primarily phone based but follow up every call with an email or letter summarising our guidance. People can also contact us by email.
I would say to health and social care professionals, please don’t hesitate to send people affected by cancer our way. If a person mentions anything to do with their finances, that’s something we could help them explore more deeply and it may have a huge impact on their life.’
Our partnership with StepChange Debt Charity
Macmillan and StepChange Debt Charity have been working together to support people affected by cancer who are worried about debt. Callers to the Macmillan Support Line can be referred to StepChange for specialist debt advice. The partnership has been a great success, with more than 3,500 referrals from Macmillan to StepChange, and advice provided on £12.3m of debt.
The people you support may also be able to meet a Macmillan welfare rights adviser in person through a local service. Click here to see where this is available. Other organisations can also provide support in person, such as your local Citizens Advice.
Financial information from Macmillan
People can also order financial information from Macmillan in booklets or other formats, by visiting be.Macmillan or calling the support line. This includes our most popular booklet, Help with the cost of cancer. Information is also available online. This includes our new online financial support tool, which can be accessed here. The tool includes a quick benefits checker and a benefits calculator. People can use these tools to estimate the benefits they may be able to get.