Terminally ill people warned over possible benefit cut

Patient and carer Terminally ill people face having their benefit payments cut

Thousands of terminally-ill people have begun receiving letters warning them their benefits could be cut in April even though Parliament has yet to approve the changes.

Under proposals being scrutinised in the Lords, Contributory Employment Support Allowance (CESA) will be time-limited to 12 months from April 2012.

The changes will be retrospective.

So people on CESA for 12 months or more when the rule comes into force will have their benefit cut immediately.

Earlier this week, delegates at the Liberal Democrat conference in Birmingham passed a motion calling on their MPs to oppose the "arbitrary" time limit, contained in the Welfare Bill, and the plans are likely to face stiff opposition in the Lords.

'No win situation'

Neil Coyle, of the Disability Alliance, said that while it is uncertain whether the rule will be passed, it is premature for the Department for Work and Pensions to warn recipients of the changes.

"The letters are now being sent at a cost of £2.7m, including letters to people who unaffected by the change but who will experience considerable anxiety," he said.

"The government has time to change plans before terminally-ill people and their families have this avoidable and quite nasty cut imposed."

The Department of Work and Pensions admits it is conceivable the legislation may not be approved but says it is better to warn people early.

"It would be completely wrong not to alert people well in advance that there is a possibility that their benefit entitlement may change," a spokesman said.

Jenny Willott, Lib Dem backbench spokesman on welfare, says it is a "no-win situation for the DWP".

"If they don't pre-judge the situation they could end up with thousands of people losing their benefits with little notice," she said.

Ms Willott says Lib Dem peers are working on the "issues to be ironed out" in the bill.

Terminally-ill people with less than six months to live will not be affected by the changes.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    Sick and utterly shameful, the targeting of the weakest in society be they mentally ill, terminally ill or just plain ill is a stain on what this country has stood for since the second world war. There are better ways to save money and raise revenue, yet only last week there were calls to abolish the 50p rate. "All in this together" Yeah right Dave, you make Thatcher look all warm and cuddly!

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    So we can no longer pay these benefits for more than 12 months.... and yet we can afford to send £Billions to other countries as 'aid', we can also pay £Billions to the EU.... right ok, so now i know, the lunatics really are running this country!

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    How disgusting, degrading and plain awful, should the terminally ill have to suffer this as well as everything else, they are already going through! what a step back in time, why not just leave them in the gutter!! Time for Davey to quit before he takes us back to the middle ages!!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    The 'government' is cutting benefits to the ILL, the ELDERLY, the WEAK, the VULNERABLE to save a few million (maybe a billion, I don't know) but at the same time is perfectly happy to throw away £3.8 BILLION by stopping foreign students (who bring money INTO the UK and DO NOT claim benefits) coming to the UK to study so they can massage immigration figures before the next election.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    The DWP are quite blood thirsty anyway. My mother died 6 months ago and we are still dealing with them as they might have paid too much in benefit when she was in care. However, the information they have asked for includes details of the life insurance policy she had and the policy with Age UK for her funeral arrangements, neither of which benefitted her when she was alive and receiving benefit!

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    Don't be ill, don't be old, don't be poor, don't be married, don't be hardworking, don't be honest. It seems our government actively discourages any of these things, whilst rewarding crooks, cheats, the feckless and the immoral. This can equally apply to MP's and bankers, not just those who choose to take all they can without giving a thing in return.

    And now this? We've reached a new low.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    I have always been proud of my heritage and who we are as a nation but this is quickly being changed and on hearing this, another nail in the coffin on how Great Britain is losing its Greatness

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    Die inside a year or die penniless? What sort of society are we letting be created around us? If it isn't bad enough knowing you've a terminal illness this is a real kick in the teeth to give you something to worry about in your remaining time!

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    How does one put a time on death? When my mother was diagnosed with Liver Cancer, the oncologist WOULDN'T put a time on it. How do the Government/DWP determine who is going to live, for how long and with what condition?
    One Doctor told us in July 09 to go ahead and book a trip to see the Northern lights in Jan 10 - Mum died in Oct 09.
    Terminally ill is terminally ill - leave their beneits alone

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    88. Bob Pike


    I think that you'll find "this lot" weren't voted in, no-one could decide so the Tories along with their close friends the LibDems cobbled a government together. Snatching victory from the jaws of what should be considered defeat! Get your facts straight!

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    I honestly can't believe that we as a nation have allowed this to happen. How disgusting that the idea was conceived let alone put into practice. The last thing a terminally ill person and their family need is additional worry about income but I suppose the government work on the theory that if you are going to die then you won't be voting at next election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    I have read of people unable to walk being dragged up a set of stairs by helpers to be 'examined' by a benefits doctor (who, incidentally, is very highly paid and must be wondering how long he keeps his job if he allows benefits to too many!); the doctor sees the person at the top of the stairs and reports "Able to climb stairs", thus the benefit is refused. Very clever!

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    jenny wilmott.............listen up.........it's a no win situation for the thousands of terminally ill, severely disabled, long-term sick and vulnerable people in this country...............your party has made this possible, be ashamed, be very ashamed, and do something!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    those of you that have got up on your soap box and cried shenanigans should go and read up how this will affect most people,the only ones that will lose out will be the ones with large savings and incomes or own lots of properties,

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    Us lot on here only have yourselves to blame, we voted this shower in. We have the government we deserve! Stop whingeing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    hmmm.....seems like the terminally ill are an easy target, call me a cynic or heartless but by being TERMINALLY ill I imagine most will not survive to vote against the people bringing in the cuts. Democracy at its finest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    If I get a terminal illness I will be sure to pop down to the DWP in the terminal stages of my illness to be put on a waiting list to be assessed by a doctor who could be working for the NHS as to whether I am capable of working from my hospital bed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    Just how despicably low can this government stoop? I'm fairly ambivalent about all political parties but the current shower take the biscuit for sheer cold-hearted indifference. I await eagerly the opportunity to consign them to the political dustbin where they belong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    makes you wonder why you bother paying tax in the first place

    good news for all the ill people we import though


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