Benefits for people with terminal illnesses

I’m writing to ask you as an election candidate in my constituency to pledge to ensure everyone who is terminally ill can access welfare benefits quickly and sensitively.

Instead of making memories with loved ones, dying people are being forced to live in financial uncertainty and waste precious time filling in forms and attending benefits assessments. Many die before the process is complete.

Like Rob, who was diagnosed with terminal leukaemia. At 21, he had to fight for the benefits he was entitled to, and died having still not received them. Rob’s dad Philip described his son’s experience of the benefits system as a ‘living nightmare’.

Only people who are told they have six months or less to live can access the benefits they need quickly and easily. Yet many have terminal illnesses that are too unpredictable to make this call. Every day, 10 people die while waiting for the benefits they need.

Marie Curie and the Motor Neurone Disease Association are calling for a change in the law so that anyone with a terminal illness can access the benefits they need, when they need them.

Answer:

          The measure of a society can be seen in the way it cares for its most vulnerable members.

On that basis, the UK is failing miserably. The time taken for people to receive the benefits to which they are entitled is far too long. Five weeks for Universal Credit is already too much, but I know from my experience of supporting several disabled people to claim Personal Independence Payment that it can take months or even years to get what's due.

The involvement of private companies as middle-men in this process simply adds to the delay and removes any possibility of flexibility and humanity from the process. Everyone should be promptly and accurately assessed for the benefits they need, and the system should have the flexibility to act extra-fast when a doctor says this is necessary.

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Email.