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Work Capability Assessment: Terminal Illnesses

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 56281, tabled on 15 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessments her Department has made on the equity of requiring people diagnosed with a terminal condition and whose symptoms are clear to complete a work capability assessment.

Answered on

27 October 2021

The Department provides fast-track access to Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowance for people who are nearing the end of their lives through the Special Rules for Terminal Illness. The Special Rules provide access to benefit without waiting periods. Awards are made on the basis of a paper-based assessment and claimants usually receive the highest rates of benefit. On 8th July 2021, following an extensive evaluation into how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their lives, the Department announced its intention to replace the current 6-month rule with a 12-month, end of life definition.

We also sought views in Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper on how best to support people with severe and lifelong conditions to access ESA, the additional health-related element of UC and Personal Independence Payment. Responses will inform a White Paper to be published next year.