A guest article from Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Chloe Smith MP, on why Dying Matters Awareness Week is so important.


Approaching the end of your life is a profound challenge. It will affect us all, and I hope no one faces it alone.

Chloe Smith MP

No matter how difficult it may be, it is vital we talk about death more openly so both those facing the end of their life – and their families – can get the support they need and prepare for what’s to come. It is through conversation that we can tackle taboos, be honest about our fears and take the opportunity to find out what help people need.

Dying Matters Awareness Week is bringing an incredibly sensitive and difficult subject to the fore. By encouraging people to talk about death, Hospice UK wants to help those who are dying be in a good place – physically, emotionally, financially – and with the right care and support.

As a government we want to do all we can to alleviate the pressures on those nearing the end of their life and their families. Last month we changed the rules so more people nearing the end of their life will have fast-track access to financial support through the benefits system.

In practice, this means people on Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance who are thought to be in their final year of their life will be able to receive vital support six months earlier than they were able to previously.

We will also extend this to Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance as soon as Parliamentary time allows us to make the necessary legal changes.

This means people who are dying can focus on sharing the valuable time they have left with the people who matter most, without worrying about their finances. I know this will not stop the heartache and the pain, but like Hospice UK I recognise and understand the importance of the right support, at the right time.