Pensions Minister Guy Opperman has confirmed that the terminally ill are not permitted to access their state pension earlier than the set age.
Responding to a parliamentary question on whether the Department for Work and Pensions will make amendments to allow people with confirmed life-limiting conditions and/or terminal illness to withdraw state pensions early, Opperman refused access.
Citing John Cridland’s independent review of the state pension age, conducted in 2016, the Minister highlighted: “John Cridland’s conclusion was that there should not be early withdrawal of state pension. The government agrees with this recommendation.”
Nonetheless, Opperman noted that individuals will not be “left without support when they need it most”. He explained that those diagnosed with a terminal illness, where their life expectancy is believed to be six months or less can apply across Attendance Allowance (AA), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Universal Credit to gain financial support. These are dealt with under a fast-track process, Opperman said.
“Anyone experiencing hardship, including problems such as unemployment, disability, and coping with caring responsibilities, can claim support from the welfare system. The welfare system provides a safety-net for those experiencing hardship, with a range of benefits tailored to individual circumstances,” he added.
“The government is committed to supporting the vulnerable and spends around £50bn a year on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions.”