Amber Rudd has asked the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to set up an ‘honest and in depth evaluation’ of how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life.
If you are living with a terminal illness you can have your benefit claim fast tracked and paid at enhanced rates.
However, charities warn that many doctors do not understand the system or feel confident they are making the right diagnosis for their patients.
This has led to a system where cancer sufferers often benefit from the Special Rules for Terminal Illness, while people who have other terminal illnesses lose out.
Work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd said that ‘personal experiences’ had led her to conclude that the system needed evaluating to ensure patients ‘get the support they need from our benefits system.’
‘Having a life limiting illness or severe condition can cause unimaginable suffering for the patient and for their loved ones,’ she said.
‘Having seen it in my own family I know that the last thing you need is additional financial pressures or unnecessary assessments.
‘So that’s why today I am beginning work on a fresh and honest evaluation of our benefits system so that I can be sure that people who are nearing the end of their life are getting the best possible support.
‘I hope that this comprehensive evaluation of how we treat those with severe conditions and terminal illnesses will help ensure these vulnerable people get the support they need from our benefits system.’