CLIC Sargent welcomes changes to benefits for young cancer patients

Young people undergoing cancer treatment will be more fairly treated when claiming Employment Support Allowance as part of changes introduced today.

CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, helped provide evidence to the Government to persuade them to make the changes, working closely with Macmillan Cancer Support.

Any young person awaiting, undergoing or recovering from chemotherapy or radiotherapy will be considered eligible for this financial support, based on evidence provided by their health professional. Their health care professional will fill in the relevant part of the form for them, simplifying the claim process.

CLIC Sargent Chief Executive, Lorraine Clifton, said: "We welcome today’s changes which will mean more cancer patients can access financial support through Employment and Support Allowance when they need it most. We know that many young cancer patients are forced to take time off work or education as a result of treatment and, at present, many are wrongly forced into work-related activity or an assessment which is totally inappropriate when they are already dealing with the gruelling effects of cancer treatment.

"Many young people with cancer face significant additional costs as a result of a cancer diagnosis. Our research has shown this can add up to over £3,000 over a period of a year. Worry about their financial situation is therefore a daily reality for many young cancer patients which can impact on their ability to cope at an already difficult time. 

"It is therefore essential that they are able to access financial support through the benefits system and these changes will mean that more young cancer patients get the right level of support when they need it most – when they are receiving or recovering from chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment.

"We will continue to work with the Government to ensure that the benefits system works for young cancer patients."