Benefit advice for cancer patients

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A service which offers financial advice to people affected by cancer throughout Lanarkshire has secured an impressive £8million for its clients.

The Macmillan Lanarkshire Benefits Service has helped more than 3000 patients, carers and families claim the huge sum in Government benefits since it was established less than two years ago.

The service is a partnership between Macmillan, North and South Lanarkshire councils, NHS Lanarkshire, the Department for Work and Pensions, and the North Lanarkshire Information and Advice Forum.

Allan Cowie, who is Macmillan Cancer Support’s general manager in Scotland, said: “We know cancer patients very often experience a drop in income and increased costs as a result of their cancer diagnosis.

“Many of them will never have claimed benefits before and trying to navigate the system and fill in long complex forms while dealing with the physical and emotional problems cancer brings can be very challenging, so services like this are vitally important in helping patients access the money they need. We’re very grateful to all the partners who have made this service such a success.

“I would also like to thank the hospital staff who take time to refer patients to the service, helping ensure they get the financial help they desperately need.”

Recent research by Macmillan found 80 per cent of Scottish cancer patients are £420 worse off after they are diagnosed.

This can be as a result of lost income as many cancer patients are forced to give up work, or because of increased costs such as transport to hospital and higher heating bills.

To access the service, people in North Lanarkshire should call 01698 332558 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk.