While the Welfare Reform Act may have been passed last year, Macmillan’s campaign to ‘put the fair into welfare’ continues.

As reported in The Guardian, the Welfare Benefits Up-Rating Bill could penalise cancer patients by stopping benefits rising with inflation.

If the Bill is passed, we’ve calculated that by 2015, people with cancer claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will lose up to £191 a year. In total over the next three years cancer patients would lose around £6 million. This could be even higher if there is a sharp rise in inflation as predicted, and goes against the government’s claim that the Bill won’t affect disabled people such as cancer patients.

Although £191 a year may not seem like a huge amount to some, it demonstrates a gradual chipping away at benefit levels which have already been in steady decline.

Following our campaign on welfare reform new processes have been introduced meaning most cancer patients won’t have to face stressful assessments or back to work interviews  when claiming out of work benefits.

This is a welcome change, but we need to maintain benefits levels so that cancer diagnosis doesn’t push patients and their families  into poverty . We’re urging government to protect cancer patients by making Employment and Support Allowance exempt from the legislation.

Go to Macmillan's welfare reform section for further information and the latest news on our welfare reform campaign.

Sign up to our campaigns newsletter to keep up to date with news and info about welfare reform and other Macmillan campaigns