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Macmillan Cancer Service launches pilot ‘Benefits Made Clear’

The Macmillan Cancer Information Service in Easington and Sedgefield is taking part in a national pilot in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and Durham County Council Welfare Rights Team to promote and implement the Benefits Made Clear Tool.

Benefits Made Clear is an interactive guide that can help people affected by cancer find out what financial support they may be entitled to.  It isn't an application for benefits and doesn't give a definitive answer about entitlement; what is does do is provide them with information about what it might be worth applying for and what information they will need to provide.

The Cancer Information Service is supporting people in this area to use the web tool through providing free internet access and hands on practical support to complete the tool. We hope that the tool will help people affected by cancer to get the financial help they are entitled to, money that can make a significant difference to their quality of life.

Many cancer patients incur a substantial drop in household income both through their own inability to work through surgery/treatments and/or a carer's loss of income through reduced hours/sickness etc/self employment. Some people have lasting effects from treatment which prevent them from returning to work in their previous role. Some of the affects of cancer and its treatments can frequently include always feeling cold; being immune- compromised; weight loss; body changing surgery - these all incur a cost in terms of heating, new clothing, increased laundry bills etc.

Andrea Elsbury, Health Improvement Specialist for Cancer Information and Support Service, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: "We know that having a diagnosis of cancer is difficult enough to cope with, without the worry of financial difficulties that sometimes follow; we want to reduce those worries by making sure people are receiving all the financial help they should be getting as well as offering access to all our other services.

"We would encourage anyone who wishes to check out possible financial support they might be entitled to, to call in to the PCP Newton Aycliffe or Peterlee Macmillan Cancer Information Centres where help is on hand to complete the Benefits Made Clear tool and to arrange an appointment with a Macmillan benefits advisor to assist with any applications."

For further information please ring the freephone number 0800 783 4056 to speak to a member of the team.

Published: 4 August 2011

'I have to compliment everyone on their pleasant persona and their expertise and knowledge. By the end of the 5 days, I did not feel as though I had been in a hospital ward and was very relaxed.'

Patient, Ward 16 Orthopaedics, University Hospital of North Durham