Cancer patient ‘felt she had to prove she was ill over and over’ to get PIP support

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Allison was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, before finding out she had cervical cancer in 2018. She says going through the process of applying for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) has added to her trauma.

Allison said: “My experience with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) versus the health assessors has been awful and ongoing for years, they have left me broken both physically and mentally.”

Allison continued: “When calling the DWP I was spoken to badly with rude staff who are also ill informed, the questioning made me feel intimidated and I felt I had to prove I was Ill over and over.

“The stress is immense when you have to rely on them for a roof over your head.”

Unfortunately, Allison’s story is not unique, with research from Macmillan Cancer Support highlighting that this is a huge problem affecting many others.

Almost 2.5 million people across the UK end up being around £900 a month worse off after being diagnosed with cancer.

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That equals four in every five (83 percent) of cancer patients who experience some kind of negative impact on their finances following a diagnosis.

The pandemic has only made matters worse with the Macmillan Cancer Support phone lines inundated with callers who are struggling.

Minesh Patel, head of policy at Macmillan Cancer Support, said the Government needs to act, fast.

He said: “At a time when people with cancer should be focusing on their health, many are faced with a long wait to receive the benefits they need.”

Mr Patel continued: “Every day we are hearing from people struggling with the extra costs their cancer diagnosis can bring, often exacerbated by the pandemic.

“It’s important that the Government takes steps to reduce the delays in the system and ensures cancer patients can quickly access vital financial support they’re entitled to.”

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said: “Unfortunately we were not provided with the necessary information to look into this case.

“We support millions of people every year, and our priority is ensuring they receive the benefits to which they’re entitled while providing a compassionate and professional service.”

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They continued: “We are exploring what more we can do so the welfare system better meets the needs of disabled people through our Health and Disability Green Paper.”  

That will be little consolation to Allison who says she is still shaken up from her experience.

Macmillan provides support to cancer patients like Allison providing them with a whole range of advice including help with money matters.

A useful guide with more support and guidance can be found on the Macmillan Cancer support website.

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