- Fast-tracked access to disability benefits has been extended to more people nearing the end of their lives
Thousands more people nearing the end of their lives now have fast-tracked access to financial support through the benefits system thanks to legislation coming into effect today (Monday 3 April).
The change means people who are thought to be in their final year of life are able to receive vital financial support through the ‘Special Rules’ six months earlier than they were previously.
Those who are eligible are not required to attend a medical assessment, and in the majority of cases, they will receive the highest rate of benefits.
This applies to Personal Independent Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA). It follows the same changes that were put in place for Universal Credit (UC) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in April 2022.
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Tom Pursglove MP said:
Helping people access financial support more quickly in the final year of their lives is the right thing to do.
Extending this support will provide thousands more people with vital financial support, so they can worry a little less about their finances and make the most of their remaining time with loved ones.
I am especially grateful to my predecessors in the role for the vital work they did in bringing forward this hugely important reform and am pleased to say we have brought about positive change.
Minister for Care, Helen Whately MP said:
When people are nearing the end of their life, they deserve all the help possible to ease any worries about bills. That’s why we’ve changed the law so you can get financial help support sooner.
On top of that, as well as helping people with finances towards the end of their lives, our Health and Care Act 2022 requires local NHS organisations to make sure they people also get the palliative care they need.
Just as we want healthier lives, I know how important it is to have the right healthcare at the end of life.
- The Special Rules changes to PIP, DLA and AA came into effect from Monday, 3 April 2023.
- The Special Rules for End of Life were previously referred to as ‘Special Rules for Terminal Illness’ (SRTI)
- The Social Security (Special Rules for End of Life) Act 2022 received Royal Assent in November last year.
- Previous Ministers for Disabled People, Health and Work, Justin Tomlinson MP and Chloe Smith MP were involved in work on reforming the Special Rules for End of Life during their time at the Department for Work and Pensions.
- The National Institute for Health and Care Research has funded palliative and end-of-life care research to a total of over £22m over the last five financial years, and as part of the Health and Care Act 2022, palliative care services were added to the list of services that Integrated Care Board must commission.
- Palliative care is defined by the World Health Organisation as an approach that improves the quality of life of patients (adults and children) and their families who are facing problems associated with life-limiting illness, usually progressive. It prevents and relieves suffering through the early identification, correct assessment and treatment of pain and other problems whether physical, psychosocial or spiritual. In England, the term ‘end of life care’ refers to the last year of life.
- As part of the Health and Care Act 2022, palliative care services were specifically added to the list of services an Integrated Care Board must commission. This will ensure a more consistent national approach and support commissioners in prioritising palliative and end of life care.