Guest column: My bill will help terminally ill people get vital pension payouts more quickly
I wrote last month about a constituent who contacted me about their pension.
The law says that if someone falls ill when they are not old enough to receive their pension, it is up to the pension scheme to decide whether it releases the funds.
In almost all cases, this happens but it shouldn’t have to be a long fight to receive the money from a fund that you have spent your working life contributing to.
The process to release a pension early is lengthy and can create unnecessary stress for the individual and their families.
On Tuesday, I introduced the Pension Benefits (Ill Health) Bill to the House of Commons.
Currently, pension providers are only encouraged and not required to provide a lump sum or ill-health pension when someone is diagnosed with terminal ill health.
My bill, should it pass, will change the law so that when a pension scheme receives evidence of a terminal ill-health diagnosis, it must make a lump-sum payment or grant an ill-health pension without quibble or delay.
This way, people who have saved for a pension can ensure they receive a fair sum of money and leave their family without financial worry in their final months.
One of the late Jo Cox’s key pledges was to do something to combat loneliness, particularly among elderly people in her constituency.
She discovered that this was a hidden but very common experience for many of her constituents.
Now, my colleague Rachel Reeves MP has continued with her work and has worked with Seema Kennedy MP to found the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.
Last week, the commission met to launch its manifesto, Combating Loneliness One Conversation at a Time, which is a call to action to Government, businesses and ordinary citizens to do more to tackle the widespread but private issue of loneliness.
I have already signed up to the all-party Parliamentary group on loneliness.
I also want to work to do more to tackle the causes of loneliness and isolation in Bassetlaw.
Next year, I will be surveying residents to gain a greater understanding of the issues that can cause isolation and loneliness, including access to transport and support networks.
We need to work together to tackle the causes of loneliness for so many people.
With Christmas right around the corner, I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and hope you have a relaxed break with your loved ones.
Please remember all of our public service workers who will be on shift over the Christmas break.
If you are able to, please donate to Bassetlaw food bank.
This week, it is in need of cereal, soup, pasta, rice, pasta sauce, beans, tinned meat, tinned vegetables, tea, coffee, tinned fruit and biscuits and seasonal items for Christmas.