It's crucial that people who have a terminal illness receive support when they need it, and that the process for retrieving this support does not involve not unnecessary stress. Special Rules for Terminal Illness mean that if you are living with a terminal illness you can have your benefit claim fast-tracked and paid at an enhanced rate, and many charities have campaigned for the rules to be further improved.
This is a cause that has my unwavering support, and I will be paying close attention to the review of the benefits system for terminally ill claimants. I want to make sure the recommendations of this review are implemented so that the most vulnerable people can access the support they need. Along with my colleagues, I'll ensure that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) conducts an honest evaluation of our benefits system so that people with severe conditions get the best possible support.
The review will hear from claimants about their first-hand experiences, consider international evidence, and review current performance to better understand how the special rules and the Severe Conditions processes perform. It's vital that the DWP seeks senior medical input to help shape the evaluation and review the evidence gathered. Professor Bee Wee, NHS England National Clinical Director for End of Life Care, has already been a key contributor to this process.
Everyone with a terminal illness prognosis should be treated with the utmost sensitivity and care, which is why staff involved throughout the benefits process receive training on how best to handle claimants in this difficult situation.
Subject to Parliamentary business, I hope to attend the Westminster drop-in/report launch as well as the AGM of the APPG on MND to represent constituents who are affected by this issue.