An update on big benefits changes


A look at latest changes in plans for welfare reform and the story so far


With a massive programme of change going on through the benefits system, I thought this April changes time is a good chance to do a "stocktake' of where some of the key changes for people affected by cancer are up to. So many different dates have been announced that it can feel a little bit confusing, both understanding the changes and keeping up with the changes to those changes...phew!


For people affected by cancer already claiming, the three main changes to benefits can be summed up as “two migrations and an offer you can’t refuse”: the migrations from old “sickness" route benefits to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), the much delayed switch from means tested benefits to Universal Credit and the invitation to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).


For new claimants, the first and last of these benefits are in place – you would now apply for ESA and PIP. However, Universal Credit is only running in a few areas and even there not everyone who will eventually claim UC will be claiming UC for the moment. Almost all people with cancer or carers will still be claiming under the old means tested benefits even in the pilot areas.


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