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Terminally ill welfare claimants are being asked when they think they're going to die

The claims have been made by English Labour MP Frank Field.

Image: Shutterstock/racorn

TERMINALLY ILL SOCIAL welfare claimants in the UK are being quizzed by benefit auditors as to when they expect to die according to a British MP.

Labour MP Frank Field claims that he has seen evidence that ill people on benefits are being asked to clarify when they expect to expire.

“There is absolutely no need for this level of intrusive and painful questioning by DWP officials,” Field told The Guardian.

If I have had two such cases in my constituency in recent weeks; I dread to think how often this is happening around the country.

Frank Field in hospital Frank Field Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Field said one of the complaints he was made aware of came from a vicar on behalf of his sister.

The UK benefits system has a “special rules terminally ill” procedure which is supposed to ensure that those suffering from a terminal illness can receive support without being challenged further regarding their circumstances.

Field has written to Iain Duncan Smith, former Conservative leader and current Secretary for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) saying that constituents of his who have submitted a special DS 1500 form proving their eligibility for the special exemption are being “asked directly to their face whether they think they will soon die”.

In one case one of Field’s constituent’s mother was asked when she expected her terminally ill daughter to die in front of the girl in question.

The DWP responded to a request for comment on the matter by The Guardian saying “Claims from people with a terminal illness are fast-tracked using ‘special rules’, where we pay the highest rate of care immediately without a face-to-face assessment”.

All claims are dealt with fairly, sensitively and compassionately by specially trained staff – they do not ask specifics around life expectancy.

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