Social Security (Special Rules for End of Life) Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:40 pm on 8th September 2022.

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Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith Assistant Whip, The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 2:40 pm, 8th September 2022

I am very pleased that the hon. Gentleman is engaging seriously with this very important matter. I have seen his private Member’s Bill and I know that my colleagues in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will be looking at it very closely in terms of the formal response from the Government. I can say that today’s Bill is all about how to get the best type of financial support to people. I really hope that that means that he will join us in support of the principles and practice of this Bill in addition to his own campaigning work.

In April of this year, changes were made in secondary legislation to the eligibility criteria for the special rules in respect of universal credit and employment and support allowance. These changes have been well received by the key charities that are active in the area as well as by parliamentarians and the public.

The special rules definition, however, for personal independence payments, disability living allowance and attendance allowance is set in primary legislation and therefore we need to be here today dealing with this primary legislation to change the eligibility criteria in those benefits from six to 12 months. This Bill, therefore, is a single issue, two clause Bill that makes those eligibility changes for these three benefits. As I have already explained, the changes put forward in the Bill will mean that, together with that secondary legislation, those expected to live for 12 months or less will be able to access that vital support via the fast-track process rather than waiting until they might meet the current six-month rule.