Dave Doogan yesterday led a Westminster Hall debate to urge the UK government to consider permitting terminally ill people in the UK to access their state pension early.
At present there are no circumstances where anyone in the UK can receive any part of their state pension before they reach the pension age of 66, set to rise to 67 in 2026.
The Angus MP raised before the debate the fact that a quarter of people who are of working age and have a terminal illness are living (and dying) in poverty.
Research conducted by Loughborough University found that giving working age terminally ill people access to their State Pension could almost halve the rate of poverty amongst that group, lifting more than 8,600 people out of poverty at the end of life each year.
It is estimated the change would cost £144 million per year - just 0.1% of the annual State Pension bill.
Commenting, Dave Doogan MP said:
“It’s an appalling fact that a quarter of people who have a terminal illness will spend their final days living in poverty - that’s a reality that could be changed by the UK government adopting my proposals to introduce early access for people with terminal illnesses.
“Those living with a terminal illness are unlikely to be able to work, and many are forced through hurdles to access UK government benefits, so it’s unsurprising so many are left in poverty.
“For a tiny fraction of the cost of the annual state pension bill the UK government could meaningfully improve the lives of so many people, and lift those who should be able to spend their final days in comfort and dignity out of poverty.
“This is not a proposal that should be controversial, this is money people are owed having diligently paid into the system their whole lives.
“I hope today’s debate will bring to light the financial struggles those with terminal illnesses face, and encourage the UK government to do the right thing and introduce early access to the state pension.”