Family welcomes PIP U-turn for woman with cancer

Roisin McWilliams pictured with her father Tom
Connla Young

SOCIAL security chiefs have agreed to overturn a decision to refuse a cancer patient access to a vital benefit.

Mother-of-one Roisin McWilliams was recently told she had been rejected for the controversial Personal Independent Payment (PIP).

The Department for Communities says "PIP aims to support disabled people who face the greatest barriers to leading full, active and independent lives".

However, it emerged this week that officials have now agreed to give the 28-year-old the payment on appeal.

Ms McWilliams's case was highlighted by her worried father Tom last month.

His daughter has undergone three gruelling courses of chemotherapy since the start of the year.

Ms McWilliams, who is originally from west Belfast, but now living in the east of the city, was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin lymphoma after being taken to hospital on Christmas Day last year.

Mr McWilliams has welcomed the latest decision.

“We are so pleased that it has been put to bed and we can start to deal with more important things that need to be dealt with,” he said.

Last month he revealed that his daughter has now been told she is “resistant to chemotherapy as a form of treatment” and said she is waiting for a stem cell transplant.

He has also revealed that an application for access to an expensive form of cancer treatment has now been accepted and that she is responding well.

“She has already had her first treatment and seems to be responding well to that and we are very pleased with that,” he said.

Mr McWilliams repeated an appeal for members of the public to become stem cell donors.

“It’s a non-surgical procedure, it’s a simple blood test and can make a huge difference to people’s lives,” he said.

He urged people to contact the Anthony Nolan and DKMS cancer charities.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Communities said “it cannot comment on the detail of individual cases”.

“In relation to PIP decisions, additional information can become available after the original decision is made,” she said.

“The department will review any sort of additional material which is supplied and is not prescriptive in what this additional information may be.”

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