Terminally ill woman forced to fight for benefits as it’s uncertain if she’ll die in six months

Lorraine Cox.

A woman from Derrylin, in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, has challenged the legal definition of a terminal illness after she was refused access to benefits due to uncertainty over her lifespan.

Lorraine Cox has Motor Neurone Disease.

Lorraine was required to still look for work months after she medically retired because of her condition.

The 40-year-old then underwent a medical assessment for both ‘Universal Credit’ and ‘Personal Independence Payment’ (PIP) due to a rule which states that those who qualify for payment are expected to die within a period of six months.

Law Centre NI legal officer, John McCloskey, who is assisting Lorraine in her application explained; “The inclusion of the six month criterion in the legal definition of a terminal illness has been described as cruel.”

It is restricting access to support for people at a very difficult time. “The six month rule was introduced over 30 years ago and was intended to assist people in accessing special terminal illness rules, not restrict them. It is now hurting terminally ill people who have an illness that’s more difficult to accurately predict.

“The Westminster all-party parliamentary group for terminal illness described the six month criterion as ‘unfit for purpose’ and called on the UK government to amend the legal definition of a terminal illness.

“Walter Rader, in his independent review of PIP in Northern Ireland, recommended that the clinical judgement of a medical practitioner should be sufficient to allow special rules to apply. We are now testing whether the application of the six month criterion is in fact lawful.”

Source: Terminally ill woman ‘forced to fight for her benefits’ – The Fermanagh Herald

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  1. Jeffrey Davies July 5, 2020 at 5:32 am - Reply

    Aktion t4 rolling along you couldn’t make these stories up Hitler would be proud of them carrying on his work

  2. The Toffee (597) July 5, 2020 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Indeed, Jeffrey.

    To paraphrase Pastor Niemoller (Who also omitted the disabled in his famous writing)

    ”First they came for the disabled…But I was not disabled so I didn’t speak out”

    • Mike Sivier July 11, 2020 at 12:05 am - Reply

      I think I may have used that line many times, between 2012 and now!

  3. Lindsay Mclaughlin July 5, 2020 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    as someone with secondary cancer, I dread my review for Personal Independence payment. the cancer is currently stopped from worsening using one of the many new drugs which can prolong life but not save it , and I have managed to tolerate the side-effects for 2 years however I am on a benefit which is given to those expected to die in six months. should I feel like a fraud because medical advances have kept me alive longer than expected? there are many like me who have been given an extension, though no cure and are well enough to live a limited life, but not to work. my concentration and stamina are low so I can only do things in short bursts, rest and then rest some more. I’m happy to still be alive, but the anxiety of possibly losing the benefit like so many others is clouding the time I have left’

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