SOUTH Down MLA Karen McKevitt (SDLP) has welcomed the changes to the Employment Support Allowance which will help support cancer patients. Ms McKevitt said: “I welcome yesterday’s announcement from the Department for Work and Pensions regarding changes to the Employment Support Allowance which will assist those cancer patients who are awaiting, receiving or recovering from chemotherapy or radiotherapy being awarded the benefit.
“The changes mean that the number of categories of cancer treatments under which a claimant may be treated as having limited capability for work related activity (The Employment and Support Allowance (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013) will expand.
“It is high time that cancer patients receive an assurance of financial assistance from the state rather than feeling forced to continue working while going through treatment which can be harsh on the body.
“The changes to the ESA 50/50A questionnaire means a cancer patient going through treatment can be easily identified and awarded ESA which is to be welcome.
“I encourage all cancer patients previously turned down for ESA to reapply and my office will be only too happy to help them complete any paperwork.”