UK’s fast-tracked access to benefits for the terminally ill expanded

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The UK’s fast-tracked access to benefits will be extended to more people diagnosed with a terminal illness, increasing the support for those nearing the end of their lives.

Changes announced on July 8 today confirm that the current Special Rules for Terminal Illness which fast-track benefit applications for those with a terminal diagnosis of six months is to be replaced with a new 12-month, end of life definition.

The move will ensure that people in the final year of their life will receive vital financial support quicker than they can do at present and at the highest rate through revised Special Rules.

“Being diagnosed with a terminal illness is devastating and this change will increase much needed support for people who are nearing the end of their lives,” said Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson.

“The new 12-month approach will ensure people get the financial help they need as quickly as possible in the most challenging of times. We have carefully considered the best approach and I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to our work in reaching this outcome,” he added.

Under the updated rules, clinicians still have discretion and will be supported by a realistic and straightforward definition, which aligns with current NHS practice.

Ministers plan to implement the 12-month end-of-life approach across five DWP benefits, beginning with Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowance next year and Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment when parliamentary time allows.

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Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.