About 1,700 people have died waiting for improvements to cruel benefit rules and it marks six months since welfare chief Amber Rudd announced a revision of the Special Rules for Terminal Illness, yet it’s still continuing and Amber Rudd has since quit her position.
Now Marie Curie and the Motor Neurone Disease Association say that 1,700 people have died waiting for a decision on Personal Independence Payments (PIP) since the changes were promised in July.
The estimation is based on the previous Department for Work and Pension figures which show 17,070 people died waiting for a PIP decision in five years and people currently have a benefit claim fast-tracked if a GP agrees they’re expected to die inside six months but charities say the rule is arbitrary, unworkable and uncaring, with people being forced to demonstrate that they have six months left to live or suffer long delays in getting access to benefits and when they do get benefits they can still face stressful reassessment, even though they’re dying.
The review gave people some certainty at least but six months on these people are no further forward and people are still dying without any monetary help they need and are entitled to and we need the Government to act on its promise.
Amber Rudd announced the review two months before she quit the DWP, highlighting the grief of losing ex-husband AA Gill to cancer but at the time the Mirror understood the review had no end date, no set terms of reference and no separate budget, although the DWP maintained it had now made positive moves, including a dedicated web page and would be carrying out more research with claimants over the coming months and that the evaluation of support for people nearing the end of life was an undeniable priority for them.
They further stated that important work was well underway and that they were working closely with medical professionals and charities like the MND Association and Marie Curie and that they were making assertive changes and actively collecting all the pertinent medical evidence required to shape the proposals.
Jo Lynton, 60, was able to get PIP for her dying husband Mark quickly after getting the six-month form but she’s warned that others can’t get the magic piece of paper, adding that the six-month rule definitely has to end because it’s wrong and unfair.
Jo Lynton said when they applied for Universal Credit she and her husband Mark ran into obstacles, trying for 15 weeks before they became ineligible when Mark cashed in his pension and Mark who was an IT consultant from Bromsgrove died at the age of 54 from MND in July after a 22-week illness.
Jo, his wife was his full-time carer and she said that claiming benefits was horrible and when on the telephone to them they were put on hold for at least 50-60 minutes but she couldn’t be on hold for that amount of time because her husband could choke on his own saliva. What was she supposed to do, tell him to choke quietly while she was waiting on the telephone to get £50 a week?
Mark was diagnosed on February 27 four days after his last day of work and was unable to drive inside a week and his wife Jo would just sit there and cry because there wasn’t anything she could do and she said they paid into the system and the one time they needed relief they couldn’t get it.
They still had a mortgage and all the bills to pay and it was hard but they were lucky, they had a little bit of savings but other people have nothing and all DWP said was that it awarded the full rate of PIP to Mr Lynton two days after receiving notice he was terminally ill.
However, there was a UN report released in 2018 that said that the UK Government enacted systematic violations of the rights of people with disabilities due to their welfare reforms by the coalition government of the Tory Party and the Liberal Democrats, that was part of their wider agenda of austerity.
These included cuts to disability benefits and social care budgets and the bedroom tax, all aspects of the welfare state that support people with disabilities live independent lives and as a consequence of these reforms, the report discovered that the threshold of grave or systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities had been met in the State Party.
The government’s reply by the Work and Pensions Secretary repudiated the report’s conclusions, stating at the heart of the report lies an antiquated view of disability which is condescending and insulting and that they strongly refuted its conclusions.
Complete rejection by a ruthless Tory government where 130,000 deaths which are connected to their austerity policies and still the killing goes on and things will get much worse as Universal Credit is designed to get people back into work but I’m just wondering how they’ll get people with disabilities and Mental Health back into work by 2027 because by then half the people might have died because of the system.
And this Tory government haven’t finished with their contempt of the sick and disabled because this government just does whatever it wants with our sick and disabled and they don’t care what anyone else says about it and it’s beyond offensive and quite honestly it’s disgusting.
But this has always gone on, nothing has changed, they’ve just given it a different name, and it’s just another example of our bureaucratic computer says no to a society where the identity of the patient has no place and we need to create a system where they treat the sick and disabled like real people in need and the people who work for the DWP need to make more humane decisions and if they don’t it won’t make much difference what the benefit is called, this indifference will go on and on.