Petition on access to benefits for terminally ill people delivered to Downing Street

By agency reporter
August 9, 2019

Representatives of the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association have presented a 55,000-name petition to Number 10 Downing Street, demanding the Government change the benefit rules for people with a terminal illness.

David Setters, who is living with MND, his wife Helen, and Association trustee and consultant neurologist Dr Nik Sharma were joined by a team from Marie Curie and Downton Abbey actor Jim Carter.

They handed in the document calling for the Government to give people with a terminal illness easier and quicker access to the benefits they are entitled to. Currently, unless a medical professional signs a form saying the person has six months or less to live they are forced through a laborious process of form-filling, interviews and assessments.

The MND Association believes everyone diagnosed with a terminal illness – whatever their life expectancy – is entitled to access the fast track process, which can cut the wait for benefits by weeks and sometimes months.

David said: “Let’s be clear, we are not asking for money, we are simply asking for fast track access to the benefits people with terminal illnesses need and are entitled to so that affected families don’t have to waste time fighting the system.”

Just last month, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd, announced a review of benefits for the terminally ill, a move which the Association called ‘encouraging’. However, says the MND Association, it is essential that this review happens quickly as terminally ill claimants do not have the luxury of time.

Jim Carter said: “Every day 10 people die while waiting for the benefits they need. That can’t be right – and is why I’ve signed the petition along with tens of thousands of other people across the UK who are urging the Government to end the cruel benefit system for dying people.”

The petition, which included 55,435 signatories, will be passed on to the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

* Motor Neurone Disease Association https://www.mndassociation.org/

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