A new report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Terminal Illness published today has found that the current benefits system rule - that someone must only have six months or less to live to get fast access to benefits - is ‘outdated, arbitrary and not based on clinical reality’.
Information uncovered during the inquiry shows that the current ‘six-month rule’ definition of terminal illness, used extensively to determine how quickly someone gets access to benefits, was invented by politicians, and has no clinical evidence to support its use.
Commenting in response Jonathan Ellis, Director of Advocacy and Change at national hospice and palliative care charity Hospice UK, said:
“It is shocking that so many terminally ill people still have to endure bureaucratic hurdles and endless delays when trying to access their benefits, which causes considerable emotional distress for both them and their families.
“The current narrow definition of terminal illness is woefully outdated, highly excluding and, as this APPG report highlights, is based on little in the way of clinical evidence, nor the reality of terminally ill people’s lives. It urgently needs to be updated to ensure that terminally ill people get faster, fairer access to financial support.
“We back this report’s case for change on this crucial issue. We want to see in place a new definition of terminal illness without an arbitrary time limit and based on medical opinion, as introduced recently by policy-makers in Scotland.”
Notes to editors
- Hospice UK is the national charity for hospice and palliative care.
- For further information about hospice care visit our website www.hospiceuk.org or follow us on Twitter @hospiceuk
- Get all the latest news from the hospice and palliative care sector, as well as patient stories, on ehospice UK at: www.ehospice.com/uk
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