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DWP failures mean dying people are being rejected for PIP

10 June 2021

More than 100 terminally ill people are each month being rejected for PIP despite having less than six months to live, and many are spending their final weeks fighting in vain for social security support, say Marie Curie and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Marie Curie says the figure raises serious concerns about the DWP's ability to recognise when a claimant is approaching the end of life and needs help.

In addition, it says that thousands of people are experiencing added  stress at the hands of the DWP and that many spend their final weeks of life either fighting for support or dying without any.

Both Marie Curie and the Motor Neurone Disease Association have been campaigning to improve the benefits system for dying people and to scrap the "six month rule" which states people must prove they have six months or less to live before accessing fast-track support.

The charities, along with a parliamentary report, say these rules are arbitrary, out-dated and amount to cruelty toward some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Nearly two years ago, the charities welcomed a DWP review into these issues. However, despite that review having been completed, the findings are being withheld. In this time, as many as 2,000 people in the last six-months of their lives have had a PIP claim rejected.

Mark Jackson, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Marie Curie said:  

"As this data shows, the DWP is clearly having problems identifying people who need their help. When somebody is diagnosed with a terminal illness a DWP benefits assessor is not well placed to judge how long they have left to live.

The current law plunges dying people into uncertainty – they know they are dying but because they do not know how long they have left they can't access financial support quickly.”

MND Association's Head of Policy and Campaigns Susie Rabin said:  

"It's almost two years since people with MND – and others who are living with a terminal illness – were promised a proper review of the benefits system that has left so many of them struggling financially at the most difficult time of their lives.

The publication of the review is well overdue and people are still struggling and suffering. It's not good enough. We need the Government to publish the review immediately and make the changes to the system that are so desperately needed."

For more information see DWP failures mean dying people are rejected for vital support available from mariecurie.org.uk.

See also our related news story DWP to review how the benefits system supports those with a terminal illness.