The SNP has renewed calls on the UK government to urgently change rules to allow terminally ill people to get benefits fast-tracked, ahead of today’s debate in the House of Commons.
Under current rules, benefits are only fast-tracked if a terminally ill person has a diagnosis of six months or less to live. A bill to change this law – co-sponsored by campaigning SNP MP Drew Hendry – has been brought before Parliament.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Terminal Illness – chaired by Mr Hendry – published a report on the issues facing terminally ill people trying to access welfare support just over a year ago. The report found that those affected face financial hardship and crippling debt due to a policy implemented three decades ago.
In Scotland, the SNP Government has said it will ensure anyone diagnosed with a terminal illness gets fast access to disability benefits when they are introduced.
Commenting, Drew Hendry MP said:
“I have been urging the UK government to take action on this issue facing terminally ill people for a long time and am pleased the issue will be debated today – the punitive ‘6 month or less’ policy preventing terminally ill people from accessing benefits must be scrapped.
“A year ago, the APPG on Terminal Illness’s inquiry report revealed that the ‘six month rule’ leaves terminally ill people facing devastating and far reaching financial hardship and crippling debt because of a policy brought in three decades ago that has no relevance now.
“The UK ministers promised a review of the policy two years ago following the report – instead we have been met with a deafening silence. The six-month rule has been failing terminally ill people and their families for years – a simple policy fix would stop that. I am urging the DWP to heed the widespread calls and scrap the policy once and for all.
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