Gerald Jones, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, has pledged his support for a charity campaign to improve access to benefits for dying people at an event in parliament.
The Marie Curie and Motor Neurone Disease Association campaign, #Scrap6Months, is seeking a change to the law which demands that a dying person must prove that they have six months or less to live in order to access benefits quickly and at a higher tier.
The two charities believe that all people should get fast track access to benefits if a doctor says they have a terminal illness.
At present, dying people may have to go through a lengthy process to access benefits, during which they must undergo assessments of their fitness to work or even prove that they are looking for work.
Receiving benefits is vital for many people at the end of their lives as they rely on financial support due to being unfit for work, or because of the increased costs associated with living with a terminal illness.
Estimating how long someone will live is difficult and the six-month rule has no clinical basis or evidence. Many healthcare professionals don’t feel comfortable saying someone has six months left to live.
Speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Terminal Illness event in parliament, Gerald said:
“I am proud to pledge my support for the scrap six months campaign from Marie Curie and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
“In a caring, compassionate society dying people should receive all the support available to live with dignity and to make the most of the time they have left. No one who is at the end of their life should have to spend time jumping through hoops or worrying how to make ends meet.”
To join Marie Curie’s campaign, visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/scrapsixmonths