Cancer

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 18th September 2017.

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Photo of David Simpson David Simpson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what financial support the Government provides to people who have terminal cancer and their families.

Photo of David Simpson David Simpson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support is currently available to children and young people diagnosed with cancer for claims for (a) disability living allowance and (b) personal independence payments.

Photo of David Simpson David Simpson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to ensure access to benefits for children and young people who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Children and young people with serious or critical illnesses such as cancer are able to apply for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) if they are aged under 16 or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if aged 16 and above. DLA and PIP are tax free allowances, which are designed to contribute to the extra costs incurred as a result of long-term health conditions and/or disabilities. Children and young people in receipt of DLA or PIP can receive up to £141.10 a week. Entitlement to DLA and PIP depends on the effects that severe disability has on a person’s life and not on a particular disability or diagnosis. This is because people living with the same illnesses or disabilities may not necessarily have the same care or mobility needs.

Special considerations do however apply to children and adults who are terminally ill, and our arrangements recognise the particular difficulties faced by people who have only a short time to live. Their claims are fast-tracked and they are awarded the highest rate of the care component of DLA and the enhanced rate of the daily living component of PIP automatically without having to complete a qualifying period. This means that, if they claim straight away, they can get benefit as soon as they have been diagnosed as being terminally ill. The arrangements ensure that claims are dealt with quickly and sensitively. The legislation defines a person as terminally ill if ‘he suffers from a progressive disease and his death can reasonably be expected within six months’.

People over the age of 16 who are unable to work due to an illness or disability can claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) which has both a contributory strand accessible via a National Insurance contribution test and an income-related strand accessible via an income test. For cancer sufferers, a light touch evidence gathering process exists, to help determine eligibility. There is also a presumption that claimants receiving or recovering from cancer treatment will be placed in the Support Group which could entitle them to up to £109.65 per week, subject to suitable evidence from a healthcare professional such as a GP or oncologist.

Carers may also be able to qualify for Carer’s Allowance, which is currently £62.70 a week if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Trudi Hills, our Sector champion for banking, has been working with Macmillan to improve how the banking industry supports people when they receive a cancer diagnosis

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