An e-petition has been set up at 10 Downing Street, asking the PM to look into the benefit system and how people with cancer are funded during their treatment. Most people are financially okay for a while because their company pays them sick-pay, although this gets reduced over time. However, students and the self-employed can fall between the cracks and
have difficulty getting sufficient money. For example, to claim income support you have to be ill for 28 weeks before you can claim- which is a fair chunk of chemo treatment time (if not all of it); jobseekers allowance - I didn't meet any patient trying to find a new job whilst having chemo!; Disability Living Allowance - basically you have to be ill enough to have someone else look after you, which is a situation many cancer patients are in for a few days post-chemo before they recover, so this is difficult to claim; incapacity benefit - need to younger than 20 or have paid the minimum National Insurance over a year, which many students won't have paid. On top of all this, it can take a month or more before the benefits are set-up.
The e-petition asks the government to look at the benefit system in relation to paying people whilst they are having cancer treatment and are recovering. Most patients are keen to get back to their jobs and a normal life as soon as they can after treatment. Suzanna Laycock has asked the government to consider setting up a special 'cancer income benefit' which would replace the current multi benefit system and fund vulnerable, low-income patients during treatment.
It needs to get 200 people to sign the e-petition in order for someone at No 10 to view it. It would be good to for all MCF message board members to support it.
If you think you would like to sign it, please go to this link: 'cancer income benefit' petition
Founder & Chief Executive
Mouth Cancer Foundation