When someone is facing the end of their life is it vital that they get the support they need quickly. That is why the Special Rules for Terminal Illness (SRTI) provide simple and fast access to benefits for people with a terminal illness or limited life expectancy.
I know supporting those nearing the end of their lives is a priority for the Government and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has conducted a wide-ranging evaluation which considered the views of claimants and clinicians on how it supports those nearing the end of their lives. Prior to this evaluation, the SRTI allowed claimants who are unlikely to live longer than six months to claim under a fast-tracked process without the requirement for waiting periods or a face-to-face assessment and, in most cases, to receive the highest rate of award. Following on from the evaluation, the Government announced that the six-month period would be extended to twelve months.
The twelve month approach will mirror the current definition of end-of-life used across the NHS and ensure that people receive vital support through the Special Rules six months earlier than they did previously, reducing the need for clinicians to have multiple difficult conversations with people nearing the end of their lives
The following benefits allow claims to be made under the SRTI; Personal Independence Payment, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance. A claim made under the SRTI is generally supported by a short form, completed by a hospital consultant, GP or specialist nurse.
Universal Credit and the Employment and Support Allowance have already been amended to reflect the new twelve-month rule. Changing the rules for Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and the Personal Independence Payment needs new legislation. This will be achieved through the Social Security (Special Rules for End of Life) Bill, which was announced as part of the Queen’s Speech 2022. It is currently making its way through Parliament and is expected to come into force in 2023.
I know that my colleagues at DWP and across government are committed to ensuring those nearing the end of their lives get the vital support they need, and I will continue to follow this important matter closely.