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Hospice welcomes major benefit change for terminally ill people

More people nearing the end of life will now be able to gain easier and faster access to some benefits, including many who receive care from Hospice in the Weald.

Following a change to the rules by the government, you will now be able to quickly claim benefits up to 12 months in advance if you have a disease that gets worse over time and a health professional thinks you have less than 12 months to live.

If you are in your final year of life, you will now be able to get fast-tracked access to Personal Independent Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA).

After years of campaigning from charities, this now brings these benefits in line with previous changes made in April last year to extend Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance to people in their last year of life. Under previous rules, only those expected to die within six months could have their claims assessed more quickly. Many with ‘unpredictable conditions’ were excluded.

If you are eligible, you will not be required to attend a medical assessment, and in the majority of cases, will receive the highest rate of benefits, according to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Paul Madden, Director of Care at Hospice in the Weald, said: “Approximately two-thirds of households affected by terminal illness will experience financial strain, so we very much welcome the extension of this support from the government. We hope that this will mean that many more people facing terminal illness in our community will have the chance to make the most of their remaining time, rather than worrying about their finances.”

How to apply

You can apply under the Special Rules for the following benefits if you have a disease that gets worse over time and your healthcare professional thinks you might have less than 12 months to live:

  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children.

More information about the Special Rules, and for guidance about providing medical evidence is available on the UK Government website.

If you have questions or need support with an application, the Hospice’s Benefits Support Advisor is here to help those receiving care from the Hospice and their loved ones to understand the financial support that may be available to you. They will also be able to sign post you to the most appropriate support that is suitable for your needs.  Contact them on 01892 820 515 or email