Work checks aid for cancer patients

Mark HobanHundreds more cancer sufferers will get help with being assessed for benefit under changes announced by the Government, ministers have said.

Improvements to the Work Capability Assessment will mean that anyone awaiting, receiving or recovering from any form of chemotherapy or radiotherapy for cancer will be placed in the support group for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

A new, simpler process will mean that all types of cancer treatment are seen as having the potential to be equally as debilitating, said Employment Minister Mark Hoban.

"People with cancer need as much help as possible and these changes will improve the way they are assessed, meaning more people getting the financial support they need at such a difficult time.

"Getting the Work Capability Assessment right first time is my absolute priority, and I am committed to continually improving the process," said Mr Hoban.

Most benefit decisions for those receiving cancer treatment will now be made on medical evidence without the need for a face-to-face assessment, said the Department for Work and Pensions.

ESA replaced new claims for Incapacity Benefit from 2008.

Duleep Allirajah, head of policy at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "We are pleased to see the implementation from today of the changes to the Employment and Support Allowance.

"Most cancer patients will now no longer have to face stressful medical assessments or back to work interviews while still undergoing demanding treatment.

"We campaigned for this change to happen and are delighted to see it finally become a reality."

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