This week's report from Macmillan examining the impact of welfare reforms on people with cancer makes for sobering reading. The introduction of Personal Independence Payment has significantly increased delays to access support to the point where 40% of patients are forced in to fuel poverty.
Waiting to benefit – the first-ever report looking at the impact of the new disability benefit for cancer patients – surveyed 210 cancer patients who have been supported by Macmillan’s benefits advice services. The report shows the detrimental impact these benefit delays are having on cancer patients:
• Over half (56%) found their finances took a hit
• Two fifths (40%) were unable to adequately heat their homes
• One in three (34%) felt the delays had resulted in mental health problems such as anxiety or depression
If one of the measures of a civilised society is how well it looks after the most vulnerable members of its society, then clearly society is failing. This government's assault on the welfare system is hurting the people who need it the most.