Chris Evans MP, vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on MND, welcomed the news that the Government will reform the benefits system for terminally ill people. Mr Evans has aided a three-year campaign by the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Marie Curie.
Like many terminal illnesses, motor neurone disease (MND) is difficult to predict and many people diagnosed with the disease are unable to access the fast-track process for claiming benefits. Mr Evans has said that this “cruelly leaves these people struggling financially at what is already an incredibly difficult time”.
Mr Evans supported the “Scrap 6 Months” Campaign led by the MND Association and Marie Curie. Mr Evans heralded this news as “an incredible achievement as a result of the determined work of campaigners”.
The government has said it will reform the rule that stipulated that people must prove they have six months or less to live before receiving fast-track access to the benefits many desperately need. This rule, Mr Evans said, was “adding untold misery and stress to those who are given the terminal diagnosis of MND”.
Under the new rules, people will now qualify for fast-track access if they are given a prognosis of up to a year.
Mr Evans said:
“I am proud to have been a part of this campaign, and to be able to support the work the MND Association have put into this. This move will make a huge difference to those who are diagnosed with MND by easing financial concerns and providing them with the ability to access treatments or equipment that will help them.
“This hard-won reform must be implemented as soon as possible, because when faced with a terminal diagnosis, every day counts.
“The government must implement this change quickly, to ensure that the benefits are felt by those who are in desperate need of this right now.
Sally Light, CEO of the MND Association, said: “We would like to thank those MPs who have supported this really important campaign over the last three years. While it remains the case that giving an accurate prognosis for someone living with MND is near impossible, we believe the proposed change will mean the vast majority of people with MND will be able to access the fast-track process.”