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Hi everyone,

 

Not sure if anyone can help or not. This morning I had tests on a lump I had found and I was told that it was 95% certain that the lump was cancer and I would need treatment for breast cancer.

 

This afternoon I had an appointment with my adviser for a post work programme interview, it wasn't a signing day but they still insist on checking my jobsearch throughly. Because of what had happened in the morning I completely forgot to take it and they threatened me with a sanction. And made appointments for me to be at the job centre every day for the next fortnight at varying times, one of these clashed with my appointment at the hospital for my test results and I told them this.

 

This set them off saying I was signing when I wasn't actively seeking work, that I needed to fill in a sickness form, this would be my second period of sickness and would mean I would not be eligible for anymore sickness until November this year. I said this to them and I was told in a roundabout way it was tough.

 

Then things went from bad to worse, my adviser made me sign off saying I was not eligible to claim JSA as I was now sick as I had breast cancer. They have now signed me off and I am not getting anymore JSA apart from 3 days that are due to me.

 

Is what they did right?

 

I have read that ESA isn't payable for some cancers so that doesn't seem an option plus at the moment I would not be able to get a doctors note as nothing is confirmed so what am I meant to live on?

 

This is a worrying enough time as it is without having they worry of no money for bills and food now.

 

Any advice welcome

 

Thanks

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I think you've been badly treated, and you might want to consider a complaint. But, get the benefits sorted first.

 

Point one - it isn't true that ESA is "not payable for certain forms of cancer". ESA does not depend on diagnosis, it depends on whether or not you meet certain descriptors showing that you have "Limited Capability for Work" (LCW).

 

Point two - your JSA adviser can't tell you that you're not entitled to JSA. It's not his or her decision to make. They should not be bullying you into closing your claim until you've considered all the options.

 

To start with, I think what I'd do in these circumstances is see if your GP will sign you off as sick. Under the circumstances, I think most GPs would. Then make an ESA claim and we can take it from there. Also, if you receive any Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction, you should contact your council's benefits department and explain the situation, asking to make (for now) a "Nil Income Declaration" since your JSA has stopped. You should do this to make sure you can still pay your rent.

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Firstly, don't panic. I've had breast cancer and claimed ESA while undergoing treatment. Antone's advice is sound and I would follow that for now. Try not to get too far ahead of yourself - you haven't actually had a diagnosis yet, so you aren't officially 'sick' until that happens, or until you get a doctor's note explaining the situation.

 

Secondly, I wanted to reassure you that if you have to be treated with chemotherapy, if it's via a drip you are automatically eligible for what's called the 'support' group of ESA. It makes claiming it very straightforward and you don't have to attend any medical assessments. I can definitely help you with the form once you have a diagnosis.

 

For what it's worth, if you are diagnosed with breast cancer, I hope your treatment is successful. It's bloody ****ty having to deal with finances and benefits when you have that potential diagnosis hanging over you and I'm quite amazed you found this out today and have come here for advice, because I was a wreck!

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I'm sorry that this diagnosis has happened to you. It's a lousy and scary place to be. I'm just out of one year's treatment for this and my diagnosis happened three weeks after my migration from IB to ESA WRAG. I used CAB and the Appeals Advisor to handle the application to get me into the Support Group of ESA.

 

 

First of all, please ask all doctors treating you to copy you in on all the letters and test results that they send to your GP. I've found that all the doctors treating me were happy to do this.

 

 

Cancer diagnosis happens in several stages and it could be a few weeks before you have a definite diagnosis and treatment plan. Copies of the information about your diagnosis and treatment plan can be copied and put in as evidence for your claim for ESA with the ESA50 form

 

 

It's important to get some support in applying for ESA. Try contacting Macmillan, they have benefits advisors who could help you with this process. Some hospitals will also have a Macmillan office with staff there who can help you with claiming.

 

 

After your initial diagnosis, you should be allocated a Breast Care Nurse. If you don't get one, ask. Every person who is diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK is supposed to be allocated one. They are specialist nurses who guide you through the whole process of cancer treatment. They can be very useful and also point you towards other support. They will be able to sort out appointments for you for scans, surgeries, be there when you see the consultants and also, valuably, explain anything you need to ask about and make sense of test results.

 

 

Make sure that you apply for a Prescription Charge Exemption Card. You may already get free prescriptions if you are claiming an income related benefit. All cancer patients are entitled to free prescriptions for a period of 5 years from their date of diagnosis. Your GP surgery will have the form to apply for exemption. Your GP needs to sign it and then it can be sent off.

 

 

Some time ago it was announced by Cameron that ALL patients receiving chemotherapy (orally or IV) would be eligible for the Support Group award of ESA. This hasn't proven to be true and I was advised that, in practice it is still only those receiving chemotherapy intravenously that get an automatic award.

 

 

Sorry I can't seem to post links here, but Macmillan and Cancer Research are good places to start early on, when everything is strange and scary. Both sites have good information that's easily digestible. I found that the more I learned, the more in control I felt as I went through treatment.

 

 

Once that your benefits are sorted out, I would put a formal complaint in to the JC+ who treated you so badly. The advice you were given was very poor. But getting that ESA Support Group award is really important right now, because you need some stability to cope with getting through treatment.

 

 

I wish you all the best scaredonjsa and I send you a big hug xx

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:Asleep in Wonder:

 

:thumb: Lots of thanx for putting that wealth of info onto CAG.

 

Don't quote me on this, links aren't my strong point either, but I think a contributor needs a minimum number of posts before links can be added.

 

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/

 

http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Home.aspx

 

My best wishes that you'll feel better soon, Margaret.

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Thank you Margaret for putting up the links, the info about posting and for your kind wishes. I will get there eventually.

 

 

From my experience, the first few weeks after initial diagnosis are the busiest and it can also be a very confusing time.

 

 

I hope scaredonjsa finds the info useful and gets good support through the whole business.

 

 

Kind regards xx

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