The special rules relating to terminal illness are to change for the better from 4 April for employment and support allowance (ESA) and universal credit  (UC), with other benefits to follow later.

At the moment, the definition of terminal illness is that you are suffering from a progressive disease and your death in consequence of that disease can reasonably be expected within 6 months.

From 4 April, 6 months will be changed to 12 months.  If you come within these special rules you should automatically be found to have limited capability for work-related activity, you will not be required to have a face-to-face assessment and you will not be subject to a waiting period.

The DWP say that the change to 12 months will be extended to PIP, DLA and AA as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of the end of life charity, Marie Curie, said:

“After the announcement in the summer and following years of campaigning for this change to be put in place for dying people, we are pleased to see this next step come into place for Universal Credit and ESA claimants.  This will ensure more dying people can concentrate on making the most of the limited time they have left, rather than worrying about their finances.  Marie Curie believes that everyone has the right to the best end of life care and support.”

Sally Light, CEO of the Motor Neurone Disease Association said:

“I welcome the announcement that changes to the Special Rules criteria will come into force next month for Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit. This change will enable more people living with complex and unpredictable terminal illnesses like motor neurone disease to access the support they need swiftly and sensitively, without the need for a face-to-face assessment. This is an important first step and we hope that this positive change can be enacted for other applicable benefits as soon as possible.”

More details on the changes to special terminal illness rules on the website.


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