Over 1,500 terminally ill people have benefits claim rejected each year
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) data shows that in an 18-month period, 1,860 people had their claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) rejected and died within six months of making the claim.
A further 280 dying people were rejected by the DWP, despite claiming under rules specifically designed to get fast-track support to terminally ill people.
Marie Curie and the Motor Neurone Disease Association said thousands of people are experiencing added stress at the hands of the DWP and that many spend their final weeks of life either fighting for support or dying without any.
The charities are calling on the government to scrap the “six month rule” which states people must prove they have six months or less to live before accessing fast-track support.
They said these rules are “arbitrary, out-dated and amount to cruelty toward some of the most vulnerable people in society”.
The DWP reviewed these issues nearly two years ago, but the findings of the review have been withheld.
Mark Jackson, policy and public affairs manager at Marie Curie, said: “It is vital that we treat dying people with dignity and don’t put barriers up in front of them based on outdated arbitrary rules that, for many, are impossible to satisfy.
“Whilst we welcome the UK Government’s commitment to review the system, more than 2,000 people have had a claim rejected and then died within six months since the review was announced nearly two years ago. Ministers need to act now.”