Changes in support for cancer patients

(Copy of a letter sent to The Buteman, and published in the current edition)

Dear Sir,

I am writing to let your readers know about changes that should make it fairer and easier for cancer patients to claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

New rules that came into force on January 28 should mean that most people waiting for, receiving or recovering from cancer treatment should be entitled ESA for as long as they need it. Previously this wasn’t the case and there may be some people who were refused or taken off ESA, who may now be entitled to the benefit.

Under the new rules most cancer patients should also be able to fill in a shorter claim form and have their chosen medical professional fill in a section confirming their inability to work, rather than have to go through a stressful medical assessment.

We would like to encourage anyone who has had a cancer diagnosis and thinks they might may eligible for ESA under the new rules to get in touch with one of our Macmillan benefits teams either over the phone or face to face. To get advice or to be put in touch with a local team call 0808 808 0000 or visit

Yours Sincerely,

Elspeth Atkinson,

General Manager

Director of Macmillan Cancer Support in Scotland