Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the financial (a) impact upon and (b) assistance available to people of working age forced to leave their jobs following a diagnosis of terminal illness; and if she will make it her policy to enable such people to have early access to their state pension. 
[Due for Answer on 23 September]
The Minister of State for Disabled People, Work and Health (Victoria Prentis): The Government wants to do all it can to alleviate the pressures on those nearing the end of their lives, and on their families.
The main way that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) 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 6 months or less to live and now they are being changed so they apply to people who have 12 months or less to live.
Once the change has been fully rolled out across all benefits, each year, between 30,000 and 60,000 people may benefit from these changes to the Special Rules. This will mean that the Government is spending approximately £115 million a year more on people who are nearing the end of their lives.
There are no plans to allow early access to State Pension.
This Government is committed to providing a financial safety net for those who need it, including when they near or reach retirement. Support is available through the welfare system to those who are unable to work or are on a low income but are not eligible to pensioner benefits because of their age.