Macmillan Cancer Relief has announced that as much as £126.5 million in disability benefits is unclaimed by people diagnosed with terminal cancer in the UK.
Literally thousands of cancer patients are not claiming benefits to which they are entitled. Whether this is due to lack of information, confusion or embarrassment, it highlights the need for better patient education in the U.K.
Other key highlights of the unclaimed millions are that:
- More than half of people with cancer (83,000) who die each year (154,000) do not claim their entitled disability benefits.
- There is huge variation in take-up across the UK. Scotland has the lowest claim rate overall - 64 per cent do not claim. Someone living with cancer in Northern Ireland is more than twice as likely to claim as someone living with cancer in Scotland.
- Low take-up of disability benefits by people affected by cancer is due to issues such as the perceived stigma of claiming benefits from the state and the complicated and confusing claiming process.
Peter Cardy, Chief Executive, Macmillan Cancer Relief, comments:
"Our findings are just the tip of the iceberg. Cancer can have an enormous impact on someone's income. They can plummet from a comfortable lifestyle to one of real financial difficulty. It is appalling that people affected by cancer are faced with the unacceptable extra stress and worry of money problems when they are most vulnerable - especially when that help does exist if only they knew about it."