Thousands of people near end of life to get fast-tracked benefits

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Thousands more Britons nearing the end of their lives will be able to get fast-tracked benefits as the Special Rules are extended. Eligible people do not have to attend a medical assessment and will in most cases receive the highest rate of benefit payments.

The changes mean people in the final year of their life will be able to get crucial financial help six months earlier than they could previously.

The Special Rules will apply to PIP, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance, from April 3.

Similar changes were brought in for Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance in April 2022.

Disabilities minister, Tom Pursglove, said: “Helping people in the final year of their lives to get faster access to financial support is the right thing to do, providing the dignity they deserve.

“Extending this support will ensure more people can concentrate on making the most of their remaining time with loved ones, rather than worrying about finances.

“I am especially grateful to my predecessors in the role for the vital work they did, in bringing forward this hugely important reform, which I am glad to confirm will be implemented very soon.”

How a person accesses the fast-tracked support under the Special Rules depends on if they have less than a year or less than six months to live.

For those with less than a year to live, an SR1 form will need to be filled in by a medical professional to support the person’s claim.

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This applies if the claimant has a progressive disease and the medical professional would not be surprised if they died as a result within 12 months.

For those with less than six months to live, the medical professional will need to fill in a DS1500 form.

Professor Bee Wee, national clinical director for End of Life Care at NHS England, said: “I warmly welcome the changes to the Special Rules.

“This is a truly significant step forward in improving the support for people who are likely to die in the next 12 months.

“The changes to the Special Rules will provide them with faster and easier access to much needed financial support at this difficult time in their lives, and that of those important to them.”

Many benefit payments are to increase by 10.1 percent in April, including all five of the benefits mentioned above.

Millions of Britons on means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit, are to receive a £900 cost of living payment over the coming financial year.

This will be paid in three instalments of around £300 with the first payment arriving in spring 2023.

People on disability benefits are also to get a £150 payment while pensioners will get a £300 payment.

Steven McIntosh, executive director of advocacy and communications at Macmillan Cancer Support, said of the Special Rules changes: “We welcome today’s news that more people with cancer will be able to access easier, fast-tracked financial support when they are nearing the end of life.

“Cancer can have a significant financial burden on a person’s life, and for many the situation is being made worse by the rapid rise in day-to-day living costs.

“These changes will help a greater number of people to focus on making the most of the time they have left and is an important step towards ensuring those with a terminal diagnosis have timely access to financial support when they need it most.”

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