Marie Curie has expressed disappointment at the news that the Department for Communities has no plans to review the six month life expectancy criteria used to determine eligibility for the Special Rules for Terminal Illness under Personal Independence Payments (PIP) in Northern Ireland.
In June representatives of all local political parties signed a joint letter asking the Department to establish a working group to review the rules and begin preparatory work for the creationof a new system once the Assembly returns.
Joan McEwan, Head of Policy and Public Affairs for Marie Curie Northern Ireland, said: “We are incredibly disappointed by the Department’s decision. Over the past few weeks, political leaders and the medical community have come together to demand change to the current PIP system, which is unfair and denies many terminally-ill people the compassion and dignity they deserve.
“While we accept that the law on the terminal illness rules cannot be changed without a Minister in place, a Departmental working group could have carried out important preparatory work to help speed up the process for when the Assembly returns.
“Barring a change in the law at Westminster, we will now have to wait for the institutions to be re-established before work even begins on changing the rules. For many terminally ill people in Northern Ireland, this will come far too late.
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