Rules for Terminal Illness Review

Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons on 28th June 2021.

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

The Department is committed to publishing the outcome of the evaluation, and it will be announced in due course. I understand that the delay has been frustrating, and I remain absolutely committed to delivering an improved benefit system for claimants who are nearing the end of their lives.

Photo of Jessica Morden Jessica Morden Chair, Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee), Chair, Statutory Instruments (Select Committee), Chair, Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee), Chair, Statutory Instruments (Select Committee), Shadow Vice Chamberlain of HM Household (Whip)

As the Minister knows, it is nearly two years since the DWP announced its review of the special rules for terminal illness and we are still waiting for it to be published. Last July, the Minister said it would be published shortly; today, he says, “in due course”. In the meantime, many have died while waiting for benefits decisions. How long do we have to wait until the Government scrap the six-month rule?

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

I pay tribute to the hon. Member, who has been brilliant at championing the need to make changes, with which the Department agrees as part of its review to raise awareness of support, improve consistency with other services and, crucially, change that six-month rule. We will be able to make changes very, very soon.

Photo of Vicky Foxcroft Vicky Foxcroft Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

Like the review of the special rules for terminal illness, the Government’s disability strategy has been much delayed. After two long years, we are told to expect it “soon”. Disabled people are hoping for radical policies that will improve their lives. However, many fear it will contain warm words and platitudes but no real action. Can the Minister convince us that his strategy will be published with a fanfare and not just a whimper?

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

Absolutely. I am grateful to all the stakeholders and those with real-lived experience, including disabled people themselves, who have been working with the Department on: the proposed changes to SRTI; our forthcoming health and disability Green Paper, which will look at both disability benefits and support and disability employment, of which we have delivered record amounts; and our national strategy for disabled people, which has the Prime Minister’s personal support and will, for the first time, bring genuine cross-Government focus to create more inclusivity and remove barriers. All of those are due very soon, and I am confident that they will be well received.