I am writing to notify you that I have informed Parliament via a written statement made on 8th July 2021 that the Department for Work and Pensions intends to make changes to the support provided for people nearing the end of their lives through the Special Rules for Terminal Illness.
The Special Rules for Terminal Illness allow the Department for Work and Pensions to provide fast-track support in five benefits; Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance, without the requirement for waiting periods or a face-to-face assessment, with awards usually at the highest rate of benefit. Claimants are currently able to make a claim under the Special Rules when they are likely to live for 6-months or less.
The Department announced on 8th July 2021 that it intends to replace the current 6- month rule with a 12-month, end of life approach. This announcement is an important milestone which demonstrates this Government’s commitment to support people nearing the end of their lives. We plan to implement the 12-month end-of-life approach across five DWP benefits, beginning in Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance next year and Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment in 2023 subject to Parliament’s agreement.
The 12-month, end of life 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 do now, reducing the need for clinicians to have multiple difficult conversations with people nearing the end of their lives. Supporting people nearing the end of their lives is a priority for my Department and I am pleased to be taking this step forward. The evaluation report will be published alongside the upcoming Health & Disability Green Paper.
I would like to thank all the MPs and the Health & Disability charities who both supported this crucial work and helped shape these vital changes.
Justin Tomlinson MP
Minister for Disabled People, Health & Work