State pension: Dying Britons could get early payment under charity plans | Personal Finance | Finance

At present, individuals can only access the state pension upon reaching retirement age – currently 66. However, for those who are terminally ill, it could mean missing out on this level of support.

As a result, the charity Marie Curie has called for those with terminal illnesses to be given the payment worth up to £185.15 per week.

Marie Curie has said this action would prevent 25,000 working age people per year dying in poverty.

It found working age Britons who are terminally ill are at a high risk of poverty, with more than one in four dying in this financial state. 

Melanie Armer, 48, lives with her husband and seven year old son, and was diagnosed with terminal metastatic bone cancer in March 2021.

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She said: “I’ve got a really aggressive form of cancer and we just can’t control it. My biggest fear is that I won’t have enough money to sustain us.

“With the rising heating bills, it was never a problem before, but it’s how it is now. I’ve already started stockpiling blankets and hot water bottles for next winter. 

“I can’t even rely on things like electric blankets because of the cost of electricity going through the roof. I live in the Highlands of Scotland, which is a colder climate and as soon as my bones get cold, they hurt. It’s very painful.

“The UK Government needs to address these issues – for everyone out there in my situation.”

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Research from Marie Curie has shown the impact of having to reduce or give up work, combined with additional costs of living with a terminal illness.

It is estimated costs for this group will rise as much as £16,000 per year, putting a strain on finances.

Consequently, the charity has shared its Dying in Poverty campaign, calling for a range of measures to help people with the cost of living at the end of their lives. 

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of Marie Curie, said: “No one wants to imagine spending the last months of their life shivering in a cold home, struggling to feed themselves, their children, and burdened with the anxiety of falling into debt. But for 90,000 people a year that is their reality. 

However, it has urged the changes to be implemented as quickly as possible to help more Britons. 

A DWP spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “Approaching the end of your life is an unimaginable challenge and our priority is providing people with financial support quickly and compassionately. Those nearing the end of their lives can get fast-track access to a range of benefits without needing a face-to-face assessment or waiting period, with the majority of individuals receiving the highest rate of those benefits.

“From April, we extended that support for Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit, and in this week’s Queen’s Speech, we announced similar changes to Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance, meaning thousands more people at the end of life will be able to access these benefits earlier.

“In addition, the Government is taking decisive action to ease pressures on the cost of living, including spending £22billion across the next financial year to support people with energy bills and cut fuel duty, and our £1billion Household Support Fund is helping the most vulnerable with essential costs.”

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