Zsuzsanna's story – now I'm not worried about money - Maggie's Centres

Zsuzsanna's story – now I’m not worried about money

Tuesday 14 January 2020
Maggie's West London

My money problems began when my partner was diagnosed with cancer and got worse when I too was diagnosed with cancer. Maggie's helped me understand what I was entitled to.


I didn't know I could get financial support as a carer

I’ve had a career as a care assistant for many years. I love it, it’s such a rewarding job. When I finish the day and I close my eyes and think about what I’ve done today, I’m happy because I feel like I’ve helped someone else. 

But in 2015 my partner of 23 years was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I had to give up my job to care for him. 

Money was tight, and we sometimes had to borrow money from my partner’s friend who would do an online grocery order for us. I didn’t know that I could access financial support as a carer. 

I spent three years caring for my partner right up until he died in March 2018. It was very painful losing him.  

Unable to work

Just when I started to feel better and was offered a new job, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November of the same year. After my operation I started on my medication and the side effects have been really difficult.

Everything takes more time. What I did before in 10 minutes, will now take me half an hour. Because of this this, I haven’t been able to go back to work yet. 

Worrying about how I would eat

After my diagnosis, my money problems got much worse. Every morning I would wake up and worry about how I would eat. When things were really bad, I would have to go to my very good neighbour and I would have to ask her for food or if I could borrow some money to buy some bread. I sometimes used food banks as well.  

When I should have been focusing on getting better, my main worry was money and how on earth I would be able to pay the bills and eat. 

The Cancer Support Specialist at Maggie’s suggested I sit down with the Benefit’s Advisor, Jay. 

When we talked through my situation, Jay helped me to immediately access an emergency grant to cover living expenses. This was a huge relief and helped me to cover basic costs like buying food.  

The Benefits Advisor helped me understand

I had previously applied for benefits support, but it had failed. When I’d got the letter, I didn’t understand because my English isn’t great and though I’d tried to sort it out by going to the office in person, I am not confident enough and so the time had lapsed for appealing. Luckily Jay took over my case and made a late appeal submission.  

I’d been agonising and worrying about it for so long, not being able to sleep or eat. And when I come into Maggie’s to see Jay, he sorted it out in one phone call.

I said to him, “Jay, where are your wings because you are an angel!” It took Jay four minutes on the phone to make a late appeal submission.   

I now get Personal Independent Payment (PIP). It’s enough for me. I’m a very simple person and I don’t need more. Too much money, too many problems! Now in the morning when I wake up, I’m not worried about how I will afford to eat and buy bread. 

To anybody in a similar situation to the one I was in, please contact your nearest Maggie’s. They can help you with your finances so that you can focus on your health.  

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