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Benefits support for cancer patients

Published: 17 Feb 2016 10:00

Funding for Macmillan advice services.

Cancer patients and their families will receive help to apply for benefits and access debt and money saving advice through a £450,000 investment.

Funding for the Macmillan Benefits Services is supporting cancer patients, their families and carers to access benefits, claim grants, free white goods and deal with debt.

Last year Macmillan's financial advice services in Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness, helped clients access £16.9 million of benefits and grant schemes, they would have otherwise missed out on.

Research from Macmillan has found 80 per cent of Scottish cancer patients are £420 worse off every month after they are diagnosed, through a mix of lost income and extra costs.

The £450,000 for Macmillan is part of the £2.5 million package of support for advice services confirmed in the 2016-17 draft budget.

Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess announced the funding on a visit to meet support workers at the project in the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow.

She said:

"It is extremely stressful for people coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis to find themselves hundreds of pounds worse off and worried about paying their bills

"Trying to navigate the benefits process while dealing with the physical and emotional problems cancer brings can be very difficult.

"Our investment in the Macmillan Benefits Service is removing some of the financial stress and uncertainty that comes when people are diagnosed, but are faced with increased heating, transport and healthcare costs.

"This funding is part of our £2.5 million package for advice services and sits alongside other measures like the Scottish Welfare Fund which helps vulnerable people in crisis and enables people to live independently."

Macmillan's Head of Services Janice Preston said:

"Money worries are a real issue for many people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Some people will need to give up work and this can come at the same time as they face increased costs like travelling to hospital for treatment, or higher heating bills as many cancer patients feel the cold more.

"Services like this are vitally important in helping patients access the money they need and Scottish Government support and funding make these services possible."

Notes to editors

More information about Macmillan is available at: http://www.macmillan.org.uk/

More information about the Scottish Welfare Fund is available at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/People/fairerscotland/scottishwelfarefund