Household finances are under pressure from all quarters, and people unable to work due to illness will feel this even more keenly than most.
With this in mind, UK-wide charity, Brain Tumour Support has appointed a new Welfare Benefits Support Professional to offer free advice and guidance for patients and their families.
Brain Tumour Support CEO Tina Mitchell Skinner explains: ‘We work to offer free support and counselling to thousands of people diagnosed with brain tumours and their families every year.’
‘One of the recurring issues people diagnosed with a brain tumour, whether low or high grade, the face is the devastating effect on their finances. Some people have to give up their careers completely, many face long periods off work and others cannot return to their previous role.’
These added financial pressures caused by a brain tumour diagnosis in tandem with the sharp rise in the cost of living and the complexities of the benefits system place an unbearable burden on many people.
Tina Mitchell Skinner explains how the charity can help: ‘We have seen how generic support services regarding access to benefits do not always appreciate the complex needs arising from a brain tumour diagnosis, surgery and treatment.’
‘So, over the past two years, Brian Tumour Support has developed specific and targeted help in this area of need.’
‘Our dedicated Welfare Benefits Support Professional role will help patients and their families receive benefits they are entitled to, renegotiate loans and debts if required, and apply for grants and other available monies. It’s an essential role.’
Brain Tumour Support is delighted that the Welfare Benefits Support Professional role is being generously sponsored for 12 months by legal firm RWK Goodman.
Lucy Norton, the senior associate at RWK Goodman, comments: ‘With the current cost of living crisis, it is more important than ever to have financial security and help when diagnosed with a life-changing condition such as a brain tumour.
Brain Tumour Support understands the need for help with financial management and navigating the bureaucracy of the welfare benefits system at this difficult time, and that is something that we at RWK Goodman wholeheartedly recognise and support.’
‘The opportunity to sponsor the new Welfare Benefits Support Professional position is something that resonated with us as a firm. Brain Tumour Support focuses on ‘no one is alone’, which is a natural fit with RWK Goodman values and the ethos of our ‘Team Around the Client’ approach. We look forward to seeing the good that will come from the advice that postholder Steve Miller can give.’
The postholder for Brain Tumour Support’s Welfare Benefits Support Professional role is Steve Miller. He has been working with Brain Tumour Support in the role of Support Professional in Wales for the past three years.
He now takes on this post to concentrate on dealing with welfare rights issues for brain tumour patients, families and carers in England, Wales and Scotland.
It also builds on his previous ten-year experience as a benefits case worker with Citizens Advice, working with clients suffering from chronic physical and psychological health problems.
Steve says: ‘It has been my experience over the last three years that there are specific issues which make the benefit procedure especially difficult for brain tumour patients.’
‘There is also an alarming lack of understanding on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions, and especially the medical assessment companies, on the physical and psychological consequences of brain tumour diagnosis and surgery.
As a result, I feel a specialist support service is crucial, and I am hopeful that we will in future be able to expand the help provided.’