Legal victory for terminally ill Derrylin woman 

A SOCIAL Security (Terminal Illness) Bill which was recently passed will improve the support that is provided to those who are terminally ill here in Fermanagh, by extending the current six-month criteria to 12 months.
The ‘Herald previously reported that the Law Centre NI had brought a case forward on behalf of
Derrylin woman, Lorraine Cox, a young mother with Motor Neurone Disease.
Ms Cox could not get fast-track support from the social security system because her neurologist was unable to say that her death was expected within six months.
Instead, she was required to still look for work months after she medically retired because of her
Speaking about the tireless campaigning by his client, Owen McCloskey, head of Social Security at Law Centre NI, stated, “Lorraine has been a tireless advocate for change and her courage and determination to speak out about her experience of the benefits system, during a really difficult time in her life, has helped to ensure that no else will go through what she did.
“We are delighted to see this positive change in the law.
“This will ensure that many more people who receive the devastating diagnosis of a terminal illness will have improved access to the social security system when they need it most.”
The inclusion of the six month criterion in the legal definition of a terminal illness has since been described as ‘cruel’ for restricting access to support for people at a very difficult time.
Speaking about the ‘monumental’ decision to finally pass the legislation, Aine Murphy MLA said, “I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the monumental efforts that Marie Curie and the Motor Neurone Disease Association have made in their tireless campaign to reform these outdated and archaic rules.
“The legislation will have a positive impact on those who need it most. It will take away a lot of bureaucratic red tape for anyone who is terminally ill.
“It is vital that people can access financial support promptly and compassionately and without experiencing any delays.
“Going forward, it is important that we all continue to look at examples of best practice, as well as what works best for the North, in order to ensure that those who are most in need receive the help that they require.”

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