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Dorset Cancer Patients Face Agonizing Wait For Benefits Payments

Cancer male

12:01pm 20th June 2014

A leading charity has warned too many cancer patients are having to wait for months before getting disability benefits.

MacMillan say new research shows at least 4,500 people who're facing financial difficulty have waited 6 months or longer to get a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) grant.

The charity's comments come after a report was published by the IFF claiming too many cancer patients trying to claim benefits are stuck in the paperwork process.

The report shows the detrimental impact these benefit delays are having on cancer patients, with over half (56%) found their finances took a hit, two fifths (40%) were unable to adequately heat their homes and 1 in 3 (34%) felt the delays had resulted in mental health problems such as anxiety or depression.

Ros Dignan, Macmillan Welfare Benefits Caseworker for Dorset, who supports people affected by cancer claim the benefits to which they are entitled, said the figures are unbelievable:

"It's shocking that people with cancer are being subjected to these delays, and our clients are suffering.  

"At a time when they are worrying about their health, they should not be having to worry about their financial situation, this is causing real stress.

People who are eligible for a vital piece of support that is supposed to help them cope with the additional costs of cancer are being made to feel as though they are begging for money."

Kevin Clark, 33, from Poole, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in August 2013. He says:

"I've been waiting for 9 months so far - I applied for PIP around September. Not having it and worrying is stressful. You feel like you've been let down by the system. You work hard and you expect to be helped in your time of need. We have had support from the family though.

"It's just been stressful. If you say you've got cancer, why should you have to be assessed? Each time I get a phone call from them they don't know what type of cancer I have. People have probably passed away waiting for that phone call."

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