Healthcare news

Father's anger as cancer patient (28) turned down for PIP benefit

Tom McWilliams pictured with his daughter Roisin, who is fighting cancer but was denied the PIP benefit

THE father of 28-year-old cancer patient has criticised social security chiefs after she was turned down for a vital benefit.

Mother-of-one Roisin McWilliams was recently told she had been rejected for the controversial benefit 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".

Rosin's father Tom McWilliams last night said his daughter, who is a chef by trade, has undergone three gruelling courses of chemotherapy since the start of the year and he cannot understand why should would be denied the benefit.

He also hit out at the department's descripton of her as a "customer" in a press statement.


Tom McWilliams said he is angry about how his daughter was treated. Audio from The Nolan Show

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.

Her father said the experience has had a serious impact on her.

“It’s had a profound effect on her mental health as well as her physical health,” he said.

“These people are saying she is capable of carrying out tasks without help

“The people are mad, they don’t even know my daughter.”

He is angry about the way his daughter has been treated.

“The most vulnerable people in our society are being crucified, they are not being treated fairly,” he said.

“There has to be proper provision put in place to ensure cancer patients do not have to suffer applying for benefits.”

The worried dad recalled how his daughter was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital on Christmas Day and their worst fears were later confirmed.

He said she has now been told she is “resistant to chemotherapy as a form of treatment” and is waiting for a stem cell transplant.

An application has also been made for other expensive treatment.

Mr McWilliams last night appealed 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 Department for Communities spokesperson last night said: “Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is payable to individuals who meet certain eligibility criteria.

"Individuals who are not entitled to PIP may instead be entitled to receive other benefits.

"Entitlements to benefits can also change over time as individuals’ circumstances change."

The spokeswoman added that the "customer’s representative has been in touch with the department and we will be reviewing the case in light of any additional information provided".

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