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Social Security Benefits: Terminal Illnesses

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 56465, tabled on 15 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will reduce the number of benefits assessments for terminally ill people by extending the length of awards under the Special Rules for Terminal Illnesses.

Answered on

27 October 2021

The Department provides fast-track access to benefits for people who are nearing the end of their lives through the Special Rules for Terminal Illness (SRTI). 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. For the majority of cases made under the Special Rules for Terminal Illness, people are given three year awards. This approach is based on a recommendation from an expert advisory group, initially for Disability Living Allowance, but later adopted in other benefits. The three year awards given to SRTI claims strikes a balance that recognises making a prognosis is not an exact science. The majority of claims made under the Special Rules sadly do not reach three years but for those that do, we want to ensure that people continue to receive the right level of support. Any further claims would also likely be made under the Special Rules, avoiding the need for [face to face] assessment.