Mark Tami MP and actors back campaign to improve access to financial support for terminally ill

Alyn and Deeside MP, Mark Tami and actors Jim Carter and Nichola McAuliffe are backing a campaign that will enable more terminally ill people to access benefits more quickly and easily, regardless of the condition they have.

The MND Association and Marie Curie are working together to push for a change in the law that will enable more terminally ill people get quicker access to the benefits they need to live well until they die.

Currently, someone is only considered terminally ill if there is a reasonable expectation of having six or less months left to live.  This outdated definition excludes people with complex and unpredictable terminal conditions from accessing the financial support they need in a timely manner.  The current bureaucratic process for accessing crucial benefits can be lengthy, complex and instructive.  

The change in the law will allow clinicians to determine whether a person is terminally ill, instead of an arbitrary time-limit decided in years gone-by. This would mean that people with complex and unpredictable terminal illnesses, such as motor neurone disease, can apply for benefits in a way far better suited to their needs and circumstances.

Mark Tami said; “Terminal illnesses devastate families across the UK. It’s absolutely crucial that we make sure that anyone facing such a difficult time gets all the care and support they need, when they need it.  That is why I’m backing the scrap6months campaign”

Jim Carter and Nichola McAuliffe, said: “We’re delighted to be here with Mark to support the MND Association and Marie Curie scrap 6 months campaign. Life is tough enough without spending the limited time people have left worrying about getting the support they need.”

Susie Rabin, Head of Policy and Campaigns at the MND Association, said: “We are delighted to have the support of [MP’s name] for this vital campaign. People coping with the impact of a terminal illness must not be forced to jump through inappropriate bureaucratic hoops in order to access the financial support they urgently need. We call on the Government to reform the outdated definition of a terminal illness to ensure that everyone living with a devastating condition such as MND can benefit from the Special Rules for Terminal Illness fast-track within the benefits system.”

Scott Sinclair, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Marie Curie, said: ‘Having the support of Mark and Jim and Nichola makes a huge difference to the campaign. 

“The current welfare system for terminally ill people is unfair and outdated, and results in cruel and distressing treatment for people who are at the end of their lives. Nobody with a terminal illness should have to face multiple assessments and back-to-work interviews when the stark fact is that they are dying and have limited time left.” 

Marie Curie is there for everyone affected by a terminal illness, including those with cancer, dementia, heart or lung disease, and neurological conditions like motor neurone disease. 

If you’re living with a terminal illness or caring for someone, call the Marie Curie Support Line on 0800 090 2309 for support, or go to mariecurie.org.uk/help.

The Access to Welfare (Terminal Illness Definition) Bill is seeking to change the current definition of terminal illness to allow terminally ill people to access benefits quicker, easier, and in a way that best suits the individual.