Friday 1st July 2016
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Summer 2016
‘The main role of a Macmillan energy adviser is to help people affected by cancer to manage their fuel and water costs.'
'There are several ways in which we might be able help. For example, if the caller is an npower customer, we can see if they are eligble for npower’s Macmillan Fund. npower’s Macmillan Fund is the only programme in the UK that offers bespoke support to npower customers living with cancer by capping energy bills and writing off debt. Regardless of a caller’s energy provider, there are also Cold Weather Payments, Winter Fuel Payments and Warm Home Discount Rebate which they may be eligible for. We also advise them on various water schemes that their water company may offer to vulnerable customers to reduce their bills.
There are many hidden energy costs for people affected by cancer – it may be that they are home more and have to heat the house during the day, or having cancer may mean they have to wash their clothes more often. All of these factors lead to extra costs which puts more strain, financially and emotionally, on people affected by cancer and their families. That is why our work is so important. We are also aware how difficult it is to pick up the phone and talk to a stranger about your problems.
Customers do not always know the extent of the help Macmillan can give them, and are surprised to find out about these fuel and water saving schemes, which can make a big difference to their outgoings.
We try and work round the problem and look at other alternatives and schemes that they might be eligible for. Sometimes we can be on the phone for over an hour talking through all the options and helping the customer fill in their forms.
It’s very rewarding to hear how grateful and happy people are for the help of the support line. People will ring up to say how thankful they are for our help or send a card to say how much we helped to ease their burden.’
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.