Marie Curie called for DWP ministers to pay the state pension to people diagnosed with a terminal illness who haven’t reached retirement age yet
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Tens of thousands of dying Brits should be given their state pension early, a charity demands today.
Marie Curie called for terminally ill people to be given the £185.15-a-week payment to stop 25,000 working-age people per year dying in poverty.
It comes after fast-track benefits were extended for the terminally ill as part of a pledge first made in 2019.
Special Rules for End of Life now apply within 12 months of predicted death, rather than six months, for Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance.
The Queen’s Speech confirmed plans to extend them to Personal Independence Payment too, likely next year.
Marie Curie chief executive Matthew Reed called for ministers to go further and extend the state pension to the same group.
This would replace Universal Credit and ESA but be paid on top of PIP for those affected.
He said: “We are staggered to see the scale of poverty among dying people. Simply put, it is shocking.
“It is clear that the working age benefits system is failing to prevent dying people from falling into poverty.”
A report from the charity, based on research by Loughborough University, found 28% of working-age people who died were in poverty.
This rose to two in three for people who have children depending on them.
Costs rise by up to £16,000 for people in terminal illness as they fork out more for energy bills, home adaptations and care, the charity found.
Melanie Armer, 48, who was diagnosed with terminal metastatic bone cancer in March 2021, told the charity: “My biggest fear is that I won’t have enough money to sustain us.
“I have a seven year old son and we’re having to cut back on food, electricity, and gas.
“We’re having to now see if we can get nurses to come round and take my bloods here instead of going to the hospital – just to try and save money on petrol.”