Terminally Ill People: Welfare Support

Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons on 14th September 2020.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement

When she plans to publish the findings of her Department’s review of how well the welfare system supports terminally ill people, which was announced in July 2019.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

I would like to thank all the organisations and charities that supported the consultation, which took longer than we had hoped due to covid-19. It is clear that there are three themes: the need to change the six-month rule, to improve consistency and to raise awareness of the support. We are working at pace across government to bring forward proposals.

Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement

Having supported a number of constituents with motor neurone disease, including a close friend, I have seen some of the challenges when faced with a terminal diagnosis. Can the Minister reassure me that the Government will not just replace the six-month rule with another arbitrary time limit of, say, 12 months? That would not solve the problem and would create barriers for patients and clinicians when it comes to navigating the special rules for terminal illness.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

I pay tribute to the Motor Neurone Disease Association, which has been at the heart of this review. The Secretary of State and I are committed to delivering an improved system that raises awareness of the support, improves consistency and tackles the issue raised around the six-month rule. We are determined that this will be done as quickly as possible.