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DWP to review how the benefits system supports those with a terminal illness

11 July 2019

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd announced today that the DWP will set up an "honest and in-depth evaluation" of how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life.

 While 'Special Rules' for terminal Illness mean that if you are living with a terminal illness you can have your benefit claim fast tracked and paid at enhanced rates many charities have campaigned for the rules to be changed.

These include the MND Association and Marie Curie who have set up the #Scrap6Months campaign.

Ms Rudd said:

"Having a life limiting illness or severe condition can cause unimaginable suffering for the patient and for their loved ones.

Having seen it in my own family I know that the last thing you need is additional financial pressures or unnecessary assessments.

So that’s why today I am beginning work on a fresh and honest evaluation of our benefits system so that I can be sure that people who are nearing the end of their life are getting the best possible support.

I hope that this comprehensive evaluation of how we treat those with severe conditions and terminal illnesses will help ensure these vulnerable people get the support they need from our benefits system.”

The review will include 3 strands of research:

  • hearing directly from claimants and charities about their first-hand experiences;
  • considering international evidence to find out what works in other nations and the support they provide; and
  • reviewing current DWP performance to better understand how our Special Rules for Terminal Illness and Severe Conditions processes operate and perform

See the DWP press release Terminally ill benefit claimants deserve a fresh and honest evaluation of the way the system supports them available @ www.gov.uk

For more information see Special benefit rules for people with a terminal illness @ www.mariecurie.org.uk

Note: The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Terminal Illness this monrth published a report following its inquiry on the impact of the legal definition of terminal illness on access to benefits for people living with terminal conditions.

Among the APPG recommendations are amending the definition of terminal illness in UK law so that a person is regarded as having a terminal illness if it is the clinical judgment of a registered medical practitioner or clinical nurse specialist that they have a progressive disease that can reasonably be expected to cause the individual’s death

Six Months To Live? Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Terminal Illness inquiry into the legal definition of terminal illness is available @ www.mariecurie.org.uk