The MP for Wrexham has called on Theresa May to change the UK Government’s inhumane approach to state benefits for people with terminal illness.

Ian Lucas MP spoke at Prime Minister’s Questions about issues with the present system, which make it difficult for people with illnesses like motor neurone disease (MND) to access state benefits quickly and sensitively. He has since written to the Prime Minister and Amber Rudd, the work and pensions secretary, to outline the problems and request a meeting to resolve the ‘dire situation’.

Under the current UK Government policy, a person who is terminally ill can only be fast-tracked through the benefits system if they have a ‘reasonable expectation of death’ within six months. However, Mr Lucas says this is unfairly excludes people with progressive terminal conditions like MND, where a person’s life expectancy can vary and is very difficult to predict.

He is backing the MND Association’s #Scrap6Months campaign to get the law changed and allow clinicians to use their expert judgement on patients on an individual basis instead.

In his question to the Prime Minister on Wednesday, December 19, Mr Lucas urged Mrs May to show some ‘empathy’ and ‘compassion’ by scrapping the six-month law and replacing it with a fairer system. Mrs May admitted it was an ‘important issue’. She invited Mr Lucas to write to her and Ms Rudd, and promised he would receive a response.

Mr Lucas’ letter reads: “At present, UK Government policy requires a medical certificate of ‘reasonable expectation of death within six months in order to be entitled to certain state benefits.

“This is a cold and inhumane approach to state support, particularly when you have been diagnosed with a disease that is progressive but also inconsistent.

“If you could facilitate a meeting between the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and we can hopefully reach a solution to this dire situation.”

Mr Lucas, who has met local representatives of the MND Association to discuss the matter, is now awaiting a response from Mrs May and Ms Rudd.

Chris James, director of external affairs at the MND Association, said: “We’re delighted Ian chose our #Scrap6Months campaign to raise at Prime Minister’s Questions. It’s really important this issue is addressed urgently so that everyone with a terminal illness like MND can access benefits quickly and sensitively. MND is tough enough without having to go through assessments and wait weeks for benefits to arrive”.

Anyone wishing to support the #Scrap6Months campaign can sign the petition here: