The UK government has announced plans to fast-track disability benefits for thousands of people in their final year of life. The move follows criticism of the current system, which can take months to process applications, leaving many vulnerable individuals struggling to make ends meet.
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 on 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.
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.