The Scottish Charity Awards, held at the EICC in Edinburgh, highlight the best, most innovative and effective charity organisations and individuals from across the country in the past year.
We were recognised alongside Marie Curie for our joint campaign ‘Social Security in Scotland – a fair definition of terminal illness’.
The campaign successfully convinced lawmakers in the Scottish Parliament to amend new legislation to make it easier for people with terminal illnesses, like Motor Neurone Disease, to get access to some benefits more quickly, when power over these comes to Scotland.
A panel of professionals selected the ‘Cracking Campaign’ award, whereas the People’s Choice award was determined in a public vote. The People's Choice Award was won by Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance - well deserving winners.
Susan Webster, MND Scotland’s Head of Policy & Campaigns, said: “We are absolutley delighted to take home the Cracking Campaign award with our campaign partners at Marie Curie Scotland.
"Almost 3,700 emails from people affected by MND were sent to MSPs in support of this change. This meant that the Scottish Government and Parliament were in no doubt about the strength of feeling that Scotland’s new social security system needed to be made fairer for people with a terminal illness, than the current UK system.
"We are so grateful to our supporters for their part in making this happen.”
As a result of our campaign, people living with a terminal illness in Scotland should no longer have to prove how long they have left to live to access financial support, for benefits which are being transferred to Scotland under the Social Security (Scotland) Act.
Currently, under the UK system, people with MND have to prove they have just 6 months left to live to be fast-tracked and to claim the maximum level of benefit. This “6-month rule” is a big problem for people with MND because it is virtually impossible to prove that they only have 6 months left to live. This has resulted in many people with MND not receiving the financial support they need quickly enough.
Under the Social Security (Scotland) Act, some benefits such as Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are being devolved to Scotland. PIP is a benefit which helps with the cost of living with disabilities.
We campaigned hard with Marie Curie to ensure this “6-month rule” was not included in the new Scottish Social Security system being set up. This means from 2020, when the new powers are expected to come into effect in Scotland, people with terminal illnesses will be able to access the full amount of financial support quickly and more easily.
MND Scotland and Marie Curie will continue to work with the Scottish Government to ensure the new rules work in practice.
Some benefits accessed by people with MND in Scotland e.g. Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit, will continue to be delivered by the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). We are, therefore, working with UK partners to try to persuade the UK Government to follow Scotland’s lead and scrap the ‘6-month rule’ for all benefits.
Susan Webster | Head of Policy and Campaigns
21 November 2019
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