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 12 months.


Regulations provide that a person who is terminally ill is automatically treated as having limited capability for work and work-related activity.


Regulations also provide that claimants who are terminally ill do not have to serve the three-month waiting period before the support group component of ESA or the limited capability for work-related activity element of universal credit can be included in the award.


Case law

Commentary: The definition of terminal illness has been considered by the courts (see below) which accelerated a change in the legislation, brought into force in April 2022, which provides that a person is considered terminally ill if death can reasonably be expected within 12 months as opposed to six months as it was prior to that date.