North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson joined other MPs to welcome the progress of the Government’s new rules - and the passing of a new bill - for terminal illnesses.
This news follows MPs passing the Government’s Social Security (Special Rules for End of Life) Bill.
The Bill is said to be a small but important one, that will ensure that thousands more people at the end of their lives are able to access three key disability benefits faster.
A typical application would take approximately 16 weeks, but when fast-tracked can be just three to four days.
Currently, the Department for Work and Pension provides fast-tracked support through a mechanism called the Special Rules for End of Life (or ‘Special Rules’). These Special Rules ensure that people can receive financial support quickly and easily in the final months of their lives.
Claims are fast-tracked, and attendance at a medical assessment is not required. No waiting period is applied, and in the majority of cases the highest level of benefit is awarded.
As the previous Minister for Disabled People, Justin brought forward changes to the special rules for the terminally ill, and said he was delighted to see the policy confirmed shortly before he left his role to become Deputy Party Chairman.
During the formulation of the new rules, Justin said he worked closely with a number of charities including Marie Curie, MND and Parkinson’s UK.
The Government already made these changes to Universal Credit (UC) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) earlier this year, but the rules have been extended to include Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Attendance Allowance (AA).
The Bill enjoys cross-party support – demonstrating the collective will of Parliament to see the measures on the statute book as early as possible.
Speaking in the Chamber, Justin Tomlinson said: “As the Minister at the time who triggered these very welcome changes, I am very proud to speak in this debate. I must say that in my 12 years as an MP this is definitely my proudest moment.
"These crucial changes removed the ‘six-month rule’, allowing thousands more people to access the fast-track support. The new system is far simpler for both claimants and GP’s, removing delays and duplication at such a sensitive time.
“I am grateful for all the charities, medical organisations, campaigners and thousands of people who responded to the consultation – collectively we have made a real difference.”