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New welfare benefits advice service for cancer patients

When you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with cancer, money might not be the first thing you think about. 
 
That’s why a new service providing high quality information and benefit advice to people affected by cancer, their carers and families has been launched.
 
The free and confidential service located at the Macmillan Cancer Unit in Prince Charles Hospital is available to patients, their carers and families to help access their benefit entitlement and assist in maximising their income including assistance with grants.
 
Shirley Melly, the new Macmillan Welfare Benefits Adviser based at Prince Charles Hospital said: “It’s important that patients receive the amount of benefit they are entitled to. The financial pressures on our patients who are unable to work is a huge burden.
 
“Making sure these patients are receiving their correct benefit entitlement gives them some peace of mind and helps to ease their anxiety.”
 
The new service has already helped one family from Merthyr Tydfil access £25,000 in unclaimed benefits.
 
Shirley went on to say:”It was evident when I was talking to one of my clients that their benefit payments were incorrect - they were being underpaid.  We did some work and received £25,000 in back dated payments for the family.”
 
“I just love my job, it’s wonderful when you help someone, even if it’s only a little, it can be very rewarding.”
 
The new service also refers patients to Cancer Aid in Merthyr Tydfil and the Rowan Tree Cancer Care in Mountain Ash who provide local support to people affected by cancer.
 
Susan Morris, the Macmillan Cancer Support General Manager for Wales said: “The work of Macmillan welfare benefits advisers, like Shirley, is invaluable in supporting people diagnosed with cancer, who often face financial hardship at a time when they are vulnerable.
 
“Our welfare benefits advisers across Wales helped people claim £13.3 million in financial benefits last year. They also help people access grants from Macmillan.
 
“But the results from the first Welsh Cancer Patient Experience Survey show that more than half (56%) of cancer patients in Wales are not offered enough information about welfare benefits advice.
 
“It is vital that people living with cancer are signposted to good quality specialist and timely welfare benefits support to help them cope and manage the financial impact of their diagnosis.”
 
To access the service you can email at shirley.melly@merthyr.gov.uk or telephone 01685 725 094.