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Cancer patients eligible for financial help

A young father in his 40s, the breadwinner of his family, was given a terminal diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, but with the help of the free financial guidance service run by Macmillan Cancer Support he can help his family survive through his illness.

Pancreatic cancer is usually only diagnosed when it’s in its advanced stages, so it’s not only the physical and emotional effect the disease has which can be devastating; the financial effect of the disease can be crippling on families who need the additional salary to live.

Up to 8,000 people with cancer, or those affected by cancer have phoned the financial guidance service since it was set up in 2011, but now they’re receiving more and more calls due to the economic climate. The most common calls that callers tend to raise include questions about pensions, insurance policies and mortgages. “People aren’t aware that if they get ill, they can claim their pension early and if they have a terminal illness and a prognosis of less than 12 months, they may be able to claim all of it as a tax-free lump sum”, says Richard Manson, one of the eight financial guides working at Macmillan and providing support to thousands of people a year.

According to research done by Macmillan Cancer Support, 83% of people are affected by the financial impact of the disease, and on average are worse off by £570. Similarly, 30% saw their income drop by an average of £860 a month because they either had to stop work or significantly reduce their working hours. Patients and their families could also experience higher heating bills, as they are more likely to feel the cold, and telephone bills can soar when used to arrange appointments and seeing loved ones. Transport costs for cancer patients can increase as trips to and from medical facilities and parking costs are unexpected. The Macmillan Financial Guide helps these people rebuild their lives financially one step at a time.

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