Benefits for the Terminally Ill to be Reviewed

Benefits for the Terminally Ill to be Reviewed

The government has announced a review of the benefits system in connection with claimants who are terminally ill, following a recent parliamentary report.

Currently benefits claimed by terminally ill people are subject to special rules for terminal illness (SRTI), which have come under heavy criticism from charities.

Present rules mean that people living with terminal illness have their benefit claims fast-tracked and paid at an enhanced rate, but claimants are first required to prove they have six months or less to live. Understandably, many charities, including Marie Curie, have blamed the system for denying benefits to people because they have not provided the necessary proof and who, in some cases, have died shortly afterwards. The Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) has been criticised for its insensitivity in asking terminally ill people to name the date on which they expect to die, or for asking them to obtain confirmation of this from their medical practitioner, which some doctors fear could negatively impact on their patients.

The six-month rule became law 30 years ago and the DWP has been accused by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Terminal Illness as being “outdated, arbitrary and insensitive”.

As a result, the Work and Pensions secretary has promised a “fresh and honest evaluation” of the way in which terminally ill people are supported and has suggested there should be reform of the current process for those nearing the ends of their lives.

We will of course provide an update on benefits for the terminally ill once the results of the review are known.