Announcing a new long-term partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan Cancer Support started 111 years ago to provide specialist health care, information and financial support to people affected by cancer and their relatives.

The Citizens Advice service started 83 years ago and gives people the knowledge and confidence they need to find their way forward — whoever they are, whatever their problem.

A partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support and the Citizens Advice service across Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale and Trafford

We’re pleased to be working with Macmillan Cancer Support to expand our partnership and increase welfare benefits, advice and casework provided to those individuals and families impacted by cancer over the next 36 months.

This new long-term partnership will see Macmillan Cancer Support invest in six new specialist welfare benefits caseworkers working in Stockport, Rochdale and Trafford, supporting those individuals and families impacted by cancer. This is in addition to the well-established service already available in Oldham.

Our existing partnership to deliver welfare benefits services in Oldham has shown extraordinary impact. Since 2017 our caseworkers have supported people to increase their incomes by £7.4m, an average of £6,300 per client.

Attendance Allowance and Personal Independence Payment are the team’s two most significant work areas. They successfully applied for £2.2m of attendance allowance and £2.4m of personal independence payment — helping those with cancer manage their finances.

Being treated for cancer and cancer-related illnesses is an emotional and stressful time for individuals and their families. Working directly in hospitals and case services, this service means those who need support get it when needed.

Nicholas’ Story

Nicholas has been receiving treatment for aggressive cancer, having been first diagnosed in 2019. Sadly, it is now terminal.

Nicholas is single and in addition to having cancer, he also suffers from osteoarthritis — a condition that causes joints to become painful and stiff.

One of our Macmillan benefits caseworkers looked at his income situation and identified that Nicholas was not receiving the appropriate level of disability benefit. Our caseworker applied for a succession of the award under special rules for terminal patients, which means Nicholas would be awarded an enhanced rate of benefit without a need for any assessment, giving him an extra £122 per month.

Our caseworker also ensured that the Department for Work and Pension were fully aware of Nicholas’ change in health conditions meaning he didn’t have to worry about attending any further benefit assessments, such as an EAS review. We also applied for a blue badge under special rules with the local council to help keep Nicholas mobile.

When Nicholas first reached out for support, he was distressed and emotional, worried about how he would pay his bills, but with our help, he could concentrate on the things important to him as he came to terms with a terminal diagnosis.

Maria’s story

Maria has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and will receive radiotherapy treatment shortly. Maria and her partner receive Universal Credit and disability benefits but wanted help with their finances, specifically debts which have become unmanageable.

Upon speaking with one of our caseworkers, we noticed the couple was not getting the right rate of Universal Credit as Maria’s partner, who works, was not recorded as her Carer. By sorting this out, our caseworker increased the couple’s income by £168 per month. We also applied for a Macmillan Grant of £350, which was approved.

Our in-house debt team supported Maria and her partner with their debts, and they are on track to have much more manageable monthly payments.

Maria expressed that her diagnosis had been massively challenging for her and her partner. The change in their finances meant that Maria and her partner could book a short weekend away before finishing her radiotherapy.

Adele’s story

Adele was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of months ago and, following treatment, is recovering well. Adele lives with her partner, who has a debilitating health condition, and Adele is a carer for him. They are both unable to work and receive legacy benefits.

Following an investigation by one of our specialist caseworkers, we established that their housing benefit could be increased because they required their spare room due to their health conditions. This increased their income by £57 per week.

In addition, working with Adele, we successfully applied for a Macmillan Grant and she was awarded a one-off payment of £350. Adele is going to use this money to help cover some of the increased energy costs.

Due to Adele’s breast cancer diagnosis, we also talked with her about her ability to care for her partner. We supported her in contacting the local authority to request a case needs assessment as she felt she needed more caring support for her partner. The local authority is currently assessing this request but we’re confident that extra support is being granted.

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Steve Hughes

Steve Hughes

Local #CitizensAdvice COO | NED in Social Housing 🏠 | VCSE Org Chair 🎗 | Politics 🗳 | HIV➕ | EDI Champion ✅ | Passionate about #innovation, #digital & #data