Terminally ill to get benefits fast-tracked

Group photo (l) to (r) lawrence cowan, first minster, hannah laycock, ch...

​First minister says new Scots social security system will address current financial inequalities facing terminally ill 

27th June 2017 by Robert Armour 7 Comments

Nicola Sturgeon has committed to a fast-track benefits system for terminally ill people.

The first minister made the announcement at an MND Scotland reception in Holyrood.

Under current Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) rules, when applying for benefits like personal independence payment, people with MND have to prove that they are terminally ill and if a period of three years elapses they then have to prove they are still deserving of support.

MND Scotland has called for people with MND to be automatically entitled to disability benefits and to receive them for the remainder of their lives. 

Sturgeon said this week that she would change the rules under Scotland’s new social security system in which 11 benefits are being devolved to Scotland as part of the Scotland Act.  

She said: "When we take responsibility for delivering the benefits... we will put in place a fast-track system to end the delays that people too often experience right now.

“That will ensure that disability payments reach people with terminal illnesses as quickly as possible.

"We will also continue to work with MND Scotland to address the challenges that people are facing now under the current system, particularly around automatic entitlement and the duration of awards.”

Lawrence Cowan, chairman of MND Scotland, said: "MND Scotland welcomes the First Minister's commitment to a better benefits system. It is the next stage in transforming care for people with MND.

"Up and down this country people find themselves up against a benefits bureaucracy that is stripping them of their dignity. Their hour of need replaced by hours of needs assessments.

"For MND, that means you can be told you are living too long to access your benefits quickly. And if you do beat the odds and live longer than expected, you might need to confirm you still need help. There's no compassion in that and it doesn't make sense."

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