WHEN a Stroud resident diagnosed with stage-four terminal cancer contacted me saying he had been declared ‘fit for work’, it was yet another reason to call for change to inhumane Universal Credit rules.

Despite his advanced and debilitating condition, he was subject to repeated assessments to prove his eligibility for Universal Credit.

In one of those assessments, more than a year after the diagnosis, he was declared ‘fit for work’ and expected to seek employment.

This case is no exception.

Since this government introduced UC, more than 17,000 people suffering from progressive terminal illnesses have undergone work-focused assessments.

These assessments are repeated until a doctor certifies that they have less than six months to live.

I’m supporting the #Scrap6Months campaign initiated by the Marie Curie Trust and the Motor Neurone Disease Association to change these rules.

The Special Rules for Terminal Illness are supposed to ensure that terminally ill people do not have to endure a stressful assessment process. However, the requirement of ‘reasonable expectation of death within six months’ excludes anyone with degenerative illnesses such as MND unless they have a diagnosis of six months or less to live.

My caseworkers have been supporting this man, and I have also written to Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State for the DWP, calling for a move away from the ‘six months’ requirement and for qualified clinicians to decide whether someone is able to work.

No-one should have to endure this heartless process in order to receive the financial support they are entitled to during the last years or months of their life.