Marie Curie is calling for the next Government to waste no further time in changing the law to make it easier for dying people to get the support they need. Every day, 10 people in this country die waiting for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and this means some are dying in distressing financial circumstances because they have been denied the state benefits they are entitled to.
A new report from Marie Curie published today shows that 43% of those caring for people at the end of life say they struggle financially. The total cost of living with a terminal illness in the UK can be between £12,000 and £16,000 a year.
The report shows that 60% of people living with a terminal illness rely on benefits as their main source of income yet more than 17,000 people in Great Britain have died waiting for a decision on a PIP claim since 2013.
Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of Marie Curie, said: “As many as 1400 people could have died waiting for benefits since the review was announced in the summer, and as every day passes countless more people will be let down by the benefits system. We’re very disappointed that none of the major UK parties have included benefits reform for dying people in their manifestos.
“We’re urging the public to ask all their local candidates to pledge their support for our “Scrap six months” campaign. The law is already set to be changed in Scotland from 2020, so anyone diagnosed with a terminal illness can get fast access to devolved benefits. The next UK government must follow suit – dying people don’t have time to wait.”
“Our new report, The Cost of Dying, shows how difficult life can be for families living with terminal illness. Marie Curie has launched a new campaign to open up the conversation around death, dying and bereavement. We have been caring for people who are dying and their families for over 70 years and we know that talking about death and dying is so important. If we talk about death, plan and share our wishes with our loved ones then we are more likely to have a good end of life experience which in turn lightens the load on those we leave behind and eases the bereavement process.”