BENEFITS AND TERMINAL ILLNESS

Current UK legislation for disability benefits and Universal Credit specifies that the definition of terminal illness is someone likely to die within 6 months.

The Scottish Government has already shown what can be done when a Government puts dignity and respect at the heart of its welfare policies.

Unlike the Tories, under the limited powers due to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, the SNP Scottish Government have opted to set no arbitrary timeframe to the definition of terminal illness. Instead, it allows the Chief Medical Officer, in consultation with Registered Medical Practitioners, to set a framework in guidance.

During the passage of the Social Security (Scotland) Bill earlier this year, then Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman put forward an amendment to ensure that it will be entirely down to the clinical judgement of medical professionals to identify when a person is terminally ill and this will ensure they can be automatically fast-tracked to the highest rate of disability benefits when they are devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

The Access to Welfare (Terminal Illness Definition) Bill a Private Members Bill, which means it can only be debated on the occasional Friday. It is also very far down on the order paper which means it is unlikely to be debated. However, we in the SNP do support the principle of this Bill.

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