Personal Independence Payments (PIP) failing to support NIs terminally ill

25 June 2018

Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the new benefit which replaces Disability Living Allowance, is designed to support those living with illness or disability.  However, recently the Belfast Telegraph reported that the benefit is failing to support the most deserving of claimants - those with a terminal illness.

PIP currently has special rules for those suffering with a terminal illness which allows eligible applicants to apply for the benefit without the need for a face-to-face assessment meeting.  However, this is only available to persons with a prognosis of six months or less.  

This is concerning, given that many terminal illnesses are unpredictable - patients may be expected to live longer but die sooner because of complications. It is troubling that in a time when someone is dealing with a terminal illness, they and their loved ones may have additional distress of benefit claims/ delays and money worries.

The government in Scotland recently changed its approach to terminal illness so that more people can receive payment of PIP in these circumstances. There have been calls for Northern Ireland to follow suit, however with the current political impasse here, this may be unlikely.

Anyone facing problems receiving PIP when dealing with terminal illness should contact a solicitor experienced in Social Security Law as soon as possible to see if there is scope for a legal challenge on this issue.

For further advice or assistance on this issue, please feel free to contact Laura Banks via email on lbanks@fhanna.co.uk or via telephone on 028 9024 3901