DWP to expand categories of cancer treatment under which claimants can be placed in ESA support group

Posted on March 1st, 2013 by chriscolhoun.

DWP to expand categories of cancer treatment under which claimants can be placed in ESA support group New proposals add claimants awaiting, receiving or recovering from oral chemotherapy of less than six months, combined chemo-irradiation, or radiotherapy to prescribed sites 17 September, 2012 The DWP is to expand categories of cancer treatment under which claimants can be placed in the employment and support allowance (ESA) support group. In ‘Work Capability Assessment – Government response to an informal consultation on accounting for the effects of cancer treatments’, published today, the DWP says that, as a result of evidence provided by the cancer charity Macmillan, it has developed proposals to expand the categories of cancer treatments under which a claimant may be treated as having limited capability for work related activity to include individuals who are – o awaiting, receiving or recovering from treatment by way of oral chemotherapy; except when that therapy is continuous for a period of more than six months; o awaiting, receiving or recovering from combined chemo-irradiation; or o awaiting, receiving or recovering from radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer in the following sites: head and neck; brain; lung; gastro-intestinal; and pelvic. The DWP says that, in such cases, the presumption would be that individuals undergoing the above cancer treatments should be in the support group, subject to the receipt of evidence provided by the individual’s consultant, GP or, if appropriate, their specialist cancer nurse. NB – at present, only those cancer patients who are receiving, are likely to receive within six months or are recovering from, non-oral chemotherapy are treated as having limited capability for work related activity. Welcoming the new proposals, Employment Minister Mark Hoban said – ‘Treatment for cancer is changing, and we need to reflect this in the benefits system. These changes will improve the way people with cancer are assessed and will result in more people with cancer getting the financial support they need. We have listened to cancer charities, and people suffering from cancer, and I am very pleased we can play our part in reducing the burden on people during what everyone knows is a particularly difficult time. ‘I am committed to continually improving the work capability assessment process to ensure it is as fair and effective as possible and that those who need help get it. Thanks to Professor Harrington’s independent reviews, we have already made considerable improvements to the system. Today’s changes are a welcome continuation of that process and we will continue to work with the specialists and organisations such as Macmillan.’ Work Capability Assessment – Government response to an informal consultation on accounting for the effects of cancer treatments and the press release Benefits rules change to help people with cancer are available from the DWP website.