Martin Lewis on broadband deals for universal credit claimants
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The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) plans to introduce some changes to the benefits which will be implemented from February 15. The changes will see certain new applicants being granted a fast-track application process as well as some exemption for their claimant commitments when on benefits.
It was announced by the UK Government that starting from next month, terminally ill benefit claimants will be able to fast-track application processes and could become exempt from certain claimant commitments.
This includes not having to prove that they are looking for work in order to receive financial support from the DWP.
Currently, terminally ill benefit applicants have to agree to the same claimant commitments for their desired benefit as ordinary applicants.
Not having to prove and agree to these commitments will streamline the benefit application process, providing the terminally ill with their benefits much sooner than is currently done.
The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Chloe Smith, noted the DWP will be introducing an amendment to these existing regulations.
She said this will help “to streamline the process and provide certainty to those approaching the end of their lives”.
The amendment will come into effect across the whole of the UK.
The conditions and exemptions available to terminally ill people have been improving as just last year the UK Government updated the definition of terminal illness and accompany rules which allowed claimants with a year or less to live to have their applications fast-tracked.
The current rules allow anyone with six months or less to live to do this with applications for Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance.
Further changes to Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance are to be completed “when parliamentary time allows” according to reports.
Currently, being diagnosed with a terminal illness that means one has six months or less to live allows them access to some benefits, an increased rate of benefits they are already receiving or quicker payments.
Claimants can apply straight after being diagnosed by having their medical professional fill in a DS1500 form which confirms their diagnosis and treatment plan.
The term medical professionals include:
- General practitioners
- Hospital doctors
- Registered nurses such as Macmillan nurses or specialist nurses
Varying benefits are available to the terminally ill depending on their age.
Those above the state pension age can receive Attendance Allowance even if they do not currently have someone looking after them.
Claimants under the state pension age are advised to check if they are eligible for the following benefits as they could receive two or three at the same time depending on their circumstances:
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
If the claimant now finds that they require someone to care for them, their carer could be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if they care for them at least 35 hours per week.
Carers under the state pension age and caring for someone at least 20 hours per week can make them eligible for Carer’s Credit instead.
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