Terminal illness

A person is defined as "terminally ill" if at that time they suffer from a progressive disease and their death in consequence of that disease can reasonably be expected within 6 months.

NB - while a Bill is currently passing through Parliament which will amend the time period within which death can reasonably be expected from six months to 12 months in Great Britain, the Northern Ireland Executive has already extended the time period to 12 months in the Social Security (Terminal Illness) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 which came into force on 4 April 2022.


The Welfare Reform Act 2012 provides that - 

(2) A person to whom [terminal illness] applies is entitled to the daily living component at the enhanced rate and [the required period conditions for daily living component] do not apply to such a person.

(3) [The required period conditions for mobility component] do not apply to a person to whom [terminal illness] applies.

Source: section 82 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012, and article 87 of the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015 (SI.No.2006/2015 (NI.1)) in Northern Ireland.

NB - in Scotland, adult disability payment is replacing personal independence payment and the definition of terminal illness is found in regulation 26 of the Disability Assistance for Working Age People (Scotland) Regulations 2022 (SSI.No.54/2022) which provides that an individual is to be regarded as having a terminal illness if it is the clinical judgement of an appropriate healthcare professional that the individual has a progressive disease that can reasonably be expected to cause the individual's death. See also Social Security Scotland's guidance Special rules for terminal illness for Adult Disability Payment.

Case law

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