Bradford South MP Judith Cummins has backed a Bill to improve access to benefits for people with a terminal illness.
Currently, in order to access benefits quickly, people with unpredictable terminal conditions like motor neurone disease have to prove they have six months or less left to live – and they risk losing their benefits altogether if they live longer than three years.
Judith Cummins MP has co-sponsored a Bill introduced by Jessica Morden MP to address this issue. The Welfare (Terminal Illness) Bill calls on the Government to improve the situation for terminally ill people and their families, and to respond to the review into benefits for the terminally ill that was launched a year ago.
In particular, the Bill calls on the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to remove the six-month rule which, under section 82 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012, obligates someone to provide medical proof that they have six months or less to live so that they can access benefits quickly and at a higher rate. It also calls on the government to reform the three-year award—a DWP guideline which forces terminally ill people to reapply for benefits if they live longer than three years after the benefit is awarded.
Judith Cummins MP said: “I am proud to be supporting this vitally important Bill. A year ago the government announced a review into access to benefits for terminally ill people, yet we still haven’t seen any action. It is terrible that terminally ill people and their families are forced to spend their final months dealing with a complicated and deeply unfair benefits system, especially the six-month rule and three-year award. I firmly hope this Bill will push the government to correct these injustices as soon as possible, to give people some peace of mind at such a difficult time for them and their families.”