Advice Service secures over £920k in welfare benefit for people in NHSCT area

The Macmillan Benefits Advice Service has secured over £920,000 in welfare benefit payments for people in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust area, it has been revealed.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 8:11 am

The service helps people living with cancer to cope with the huge financial pressures many face as a result of the illness.

New figures from the Benefits Advice Service show it helped over 400 people in the area claim an average of £2,217 between June 2020 and June 2021

Denise Forde, who is a Macmillan Benefits Advisor in the Northern Trust area, says that no-one who has a life-threatening illness should have to worry about how to pay their bills or cover the costs of getting to hospital. She said: “Cancer can cause a lot of additional expense such as heating and travel, and often a loss or a reduction in income. For those who have never tried to navigate the benefits system before, it can feel like a maze, especially when someone is struggling to deal with the emotional and physical impacts of a cancer diagnosis. We want everyone living with cancer in the Northern Trust area to know we’re here to help make sure they get access to all that they are entitled to. Not all benefits are means tested so I would urge anyone with cancer to get in touch today and see how we can help.”

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Macmillan relies almost entirely on donations from the public to fund its services, and since the pandemic hit, has seen its fundraising income drop. The charity is hoping that after 18-months of cancelled fundraising events, people across the Northern Trust area will sign up for its World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on September 24 (coffeeregister.macmillan.org.uk).

Paula Kealey, Strategic Partnership Manager at Macmillan in NI said: “A cancer diagnosis can turn people’s lives upside down with a huge range of emotional, physical and financial impacts. It’s not always what goes on in hospital that concerns people the most – for many, money is the next biggest worry after the shock of their initial diagnosis. Cancer is simply not something anyone can budget for and we are immensely proud of what our Macmillan benefits advisors are achieving when it comes to relieving just some of the financial anxiety experienced by people with cancer. These are services that simply would not be there without the continued backing of our generous supporters who we need now more than ever before after 18-months of cancelled fundraising events amidst the pandemic. With our flagship World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event just around the corner on Friday 24 September we hope everyone will get involved so we can keep services like this running at a time when people with cancer need us the most.” To contact the Macmillan Benefits Advice Service in the Northern Trust area, call 0300 1233 233