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New benefits advice service for Devon cancer patients

Image: The team of advisers delivering Macmillan and Citizen's Advice's newly expanded benefits advice service for people with cancer across Devon.

Published: 6 June 2023

National cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support and Citizens Advice have launched a county-wide service offering money and benefits advice to people affected by cancer and their families in Devon.

Cancer can be tough on your finances and the Cost of Living crisis has made it tougher still. For people with cancer rising living costs comes on top of the existing financial impact that a diagnosis can bring – a drop in income due to not being able to work, extra costs such as travel to frequent hospital appointments or having the heating on more due to feeling the cold.

This newly expanded service will offer free, confidential and expert advice to people affected by cancer about benefit entitlements, financial support available to them and wider issues such as housing, debt and work. It will bring seven new Macmillan Benefits Advisers to Devon and will connect up and build on existing services to ensure rising demand for welfare benefits advice can be met and help is more easily available no matter where you live in the county.

Penny Hadfield-Bennett, one of the newly funded Macmillan Benefits Advisers, said “People with cancer shouldn’t have to worry about money on top of everything else. Money worries can be extremely stressful and it is well known that stress has an adverse effect on health. I hope our support will mean more people affected by cancer in Devon will be able to focus on what is most important, their health and recovery rather than worrying about their bills.”

Macmillan Cancer Support has invested just under £1million to expand the service, working in partnership with Citizen’s Advice – and local cancer support services including FORCE Cancer Charity at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, The Fern Centre at North Devon District Hospital, The Lodge Cancer Support Centre at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and The Mustard Tree Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre Outreach Service at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust – to deliver support to the people that need it most in the county.

Amanda Nadin, Macmillan Partnership Manager added, “We are living in such hard times at the moment, so easily accessible specialist welfare benefits advice is vital. Through working closely with our local partners Citizens Advice we are so pleased to be able to expand this service across the county, in addition to our existing team in Barnstaple, to offer benefits advice to more and more people affected by cancer in Devon. Our team of advisers can help you navigate the complicated benefits system and any other help you may be able to claim.”

Macmillan and Citizen’s Advice are urging anyone in Devon who is affected by cancer and worried about their finances to contact the service for advice. You can refer yourself online, call 0808 175 4505 or talk to your local hospital’s cancer information and support service and they will put you in touch.

There is more support on the cost of living and cancer on Macmillan’s website.