17 December 2014
Responding to the publication of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Independent Review and quarterly statistics, Juliet Bouverie, Director of Services and Influencing at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
“Today’s review acknowledges the need for improvement in a system that is currently riddled with delays. While we are pleased that more claims are being processed, it remains an absolute disgrace that thousands of people with cancer have been forced to wait six months  or more just to find out whether they were even eligible for the disability benefit.
“These delays are a further blow to cancer patients who have to prove that they have been affected by their disease for at least three months before the state will consider them as eligible for help.
“A recent survey of Macmillan benefits advisers reveals shocking statistics: nearly a third (30%) know of someone who has died while waiting for their benefits, almost one in two (48%) have come across patients who cannot afford to feed themselves properly, and around three in five (59%) say delays have left people unable to heat their homes . This is completely unacceptable, particularly as winter approaches and the weather turns colder. No one should have to face these situations simply because they have been diagnosed with cancer.
“What we are seeing is failure in the system that is having a very real and shattering impact on the lives of people with cancer. Under the old system, cancer patients only had to wait for 11 weeks at most before receiving their benefits.
“The Department for Work and Pensions had committed to reducing these delays to 16 weeks by December but they have now shifted the goal-posts. Macmillan is calling on the DWP to be transparent about waiting times and urgently commit to reducing them to 11 weeks.
“If you have cancer and need financial support or benefits advice please, contact Macmillan. We have a large network of welfare advice services and benefits advisers who are here to support you.”
For further information, please contact:
Cora Bauer, Media and PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
0207 091 2016 (out of hours 07801 307068) firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
1 Macmillan estimate. June 2014. Thousands of Cancer Patients Wait For Six Months or More For Disability Benefits. http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Aboutus/News/Latest_News/ThousandsofCancerPatientsWaitForSixMonthsorMoreForDisabilityBenefits.aspx
2 Macmillan Cancer Support online survey of 200 Macmillan benefits advisors across the UK (out of a total of 234). Survey questioned advisers on the Personal Independence Payment normal rules process. Fieldwork conducted 24 October to 24 November 2014.
About Macmillan Cancer Support
When you have cancer, you don’t just worry about what will happen to your body, you worry about what will happen to your life. Whether it’s concerns about who you can talk to, planning for the extra costs or what to do about work, at Macmillan we understand how a cancer diagnosis can take over everything.
That’s why we’re here. We provide support that helps people take back control of their lives. But right now, we can’t reach everyone who needs us. We need your help to make sure that people affected by cancer get the support they need to face the toughest fight of their life. No one should face cancer alone, and with your support no one will.
To get involved, call 0300 1000 200 today. And please remember, we’re here for you too. If you’d like support, information or just to chat, call us free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit macmillan.org.u