Nichola Mallon wants the process to be fairer and more compassionate for people with the ‘least time to spare’
People facing terminal illness will have no special help to make urgent PIP applications because of the continued limbo at Stormont.
SDLP MLA Nichoal Mallon is trying to help hundreds of people navigate the new PIP rules.
And she had given special attention to those with terminal illnesses and life limiting conditions.
She has repeated called for a review of the definition of the term ‘terminal illness”.
But her plea urging action from the Department of Communities has responded with a resounding ‘no’ blaming the Stormont impasse.
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Mrs Mallon said: “I’d written to the Department for Communities to see if, in light of the Secretary of State’s Guidance on Civil Service Decision Making, work might be able to begin on making the PIP application process fairer and more compassionate for those with a terminal illness.
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“The answer in short – no.
“So those with the least time to spare, the terminally ill applying for PIP are left to wait until whenever the Stormont standoff and stalemate might end.”
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The letter from the Department of Communities stated: “The statutory framework introducing PIP – including a definition of terminal illness used for the special rules – in Northern Ireland was put in place by the Westminster Government following the approach agreed by the Executive to introduce welfare Reform here and the subsequent legislative consent motion endorsed by the Assembly.
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“In the absence of Ministers the Department is constrained in the actions it can undertake: civil servants do not have the authority to commence work on a major policy review or take legislative decisions to break parity that go beyond the current arrnagemtns as previously agreed by the Executive and Assembly.”
With many thanks to: Belfast Live for the original story.