Anyone who is 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. This means they will receive unconditional financial support and will not be required to take steps to return to work.
Previously, different forms of treatment were assessed differently, meaning that some people would be expected to make efforts to return to work.
The new rules follow extensive work with Macmillan Cancer Support and other charities, the Royal College of Radiologists, people with cancer and their families.
Duleep Allirajah, head of policy at Macmillan, said: “We are pleased to see the implementation 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.”
New ‘light touch’ process
Other changes mean that most benefit decisions for those receiving cancer treatments will be assessed on supporting medical evidence, provided by a relevant healthcare professional, without the need for a face-to-face assessment.
Claimants will also only have to complete a dedicated part of the ESA50 form (the questionnaire that claimants must complete to outline how illness or disability affects their ability to work) rather than the whole questionnaire.