The retirement age for the state pension is 66 for both men and women and a person needs at least 10 years of National Insurance contributions to get any payment. SNP MP Dave Doogan asked ministers if it would become a policy for those diagnosed with a terminal illness to access the state pension early if they have enough contributions.
Pensions minister Laura Trott said in a written response: “We have no plans to allow early access to state pension.
“For those at the end of their life, the Government’s priority is providing financial support quickly and compassionately.
“The main way that the Department does this is through special benefit rules, sometimes referred to as “the Special Rules”.
“These enable people who are nearing the end of their lives to get faster, easier access to certain benefits, without needing to attend a medical assessment, serve waiting periods and in most cases, receive the highest rate of benefit.
“For many years, the Special Rules have applied to people who have six months or less to live and now they are being changed so they apply to people who have 12 months or less to live.”
However, Ms Trott also said in her response that the Scottish Government has powers to provide additional support to its terminally ill citizens.
She said: “Scotland has the powers under the Scotland Act 2016 to make additional discretionary payments should it wish to do so.
“Whilst pensions remain a reserved matter, the Scotland Act 2016 has given the Scottish Government the ability to use a wide range of new welfare provisions.”
If a person needs support after their diagnosis or with applying for benefits, they can get help from the following groups:
- Marie Curie – care and support at the end of life
- Together for Short Lives – support for seriously ill children and their families
- Rainbow Trust – support for families with seriously ill children
- Macmillan Cancer Support – practical and emotional support at the end of life
- Carers Trust – support and advice for carers
- Carers UK – support and advice for carers
- Citizens Advice – for financial advice and support.