No time limit for terminally ill people

New amendment to Social Security (Scotland) Bill

A new amendment has been tabled to the Social Security (Scotland) Bill, which would remove any time qualification for people who are terminally ill.

Current UK legislation for disability benefits and Universal Credit specifies that the definition of terminal illness is someone likely to die within 6 months. Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman has put forward an amendment to ensure that it will be entirely down to the clinical judgement of medical professionals to identify when a person is terminally ill and this will ensure they can be automatically fast-tracked to the highest rate of disability benefits when they are devolved to the Scottish Parliament

Ms Freeman said:

“Working through the best approach to terminal illness for our new social security system in Scotland has been the most challenging aspect of this legislation. It is both sensitive and difficult because a diagnosis of terminal illness brings with it a significant impact on the individual and their family and implications for the care and management of their condition.

“Medical practitioners who make these decisions are aware of these facts and I am very conscious of the vital role that they will play in implementing this important change. And I am grateful to the medical professionals for providing their views.

“I am also grateful to everyone else involved for their very considered approach to this complex issue, and for continuing to discuss this with me. We are all determined to get this right for both the people of Scotland and our medical professionals. And, I believe that we have arrived at the right solution to ensure that people who are already in extremely difficult circumstances are able to access the maximum level of  financial support they are entitled to – quickly, with dignity, and with no assessment process involved. I hope this amendment receives cross-party support at Stage 3 on Wednesday.”


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