Thousands Of Local People Dying In Poverty: Shocking Stats

Give dying people of working age in Northern Ireland the State Pension says Marie Curie.

New research finds 2,000 people died in poverty in Northern Ireland!
Working-age people are twice as likely to die below the poverty line as pensioners.

Belfast, Derry City & Strabane, and Newry, Mourne & Down council areas are among the areas most at risk
 in the UK. 
End-of-life charity Marie Curie Northern Ireland has described new research showing that 2,000 people died in poverty in Northern Ireland as shocking.
The charity revealed the statistics today in a new Northern Ireland report based on research from Loughborough University. It found that people of working age who are terminally ill are at high risk, with more than one in four dying in poverty (26%), rising to nearly a third (29.6%) [3] in Belfast.  
This makes those who die at working age more than twice as likely to die in poverty than those who live past pension age.
Marie Curie is calling for urgent action from decision-makers to give people who are dying in Northern Ireland access to their State Pension, saying that the benefits system for working-age people who are dying fails to protect them from falling below the poverty line.  Having to reduce or give up work, combined with the added costs of living with a terminal illness, such as higher energy bills and paying for home adaptations and care, all contribute to the likelihood of financial hardship amongst this group.
Alongside calling for early access to the State Pension for terminally ill people, Marie Curie is launching its Dying in Poverty campaign and petition this week, calling for a range of measures to help terminally ill people who are struggling with the cost of living at the end of their lives.

Joan McEwan, Associate Director of Policy for Marie Curie in Northern Ireland, said:

“Thousands of local people are reaching the end of their lives in poverty, unable to make the most of the time they have left because of unaffordable bills and a constant fear about making ends meet. The scale of Northern Ireland’s end-of-life poverty crisis is truly shameful!
“While soaring energy bills and other household costs are impacting people from all walks of life, those with terminal illnesses are among the worst affected. They are unable to work as their health declines and they face a number of unique and inescapable costs as a result of their illness – including paying for home adaptions and travel for medical appointments. In far too many cases, all of this combines to create a perfect storm of misery and financial hardship for dying people.
“For even one terminally ill person to spend their last days in this situation is unacceptable, but for nearly one in eight local people to die in poverty is shocking. We need concrete solutions from Stormont and we need them quickly. A good starting point is ensuring people with a terminal illness get early access to their state pension, so they have the means to have a better quality of life in the time they have left. It’s an appalling indictment of our society if we sit back and do nothing to address this.”
Across Northern Ireland, the Belfast City Council area had the highest proportion of both working-age people and pensioners who experienced poverty in their last year of life (29.6% working age people died in poverty and 12.2% pensioners died in poverty), followed by other council areas; Derry City and Strabane (28% and 11.6%) and Newry, Mourne and Down (24.5% and 10.1%).
Juliet Stone, from the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, says:
“Our research, for the first time, not only tells us how many people die in poverty but shines a light on who these people are, where they live and the triggers, such as terminal illness, which force them below the poverty line. We are proud of this work but the findings break my heart.
“Everyone who has received a bill, filled up their car, or done the weekly shop knows the cost of living is high and rising. For people with terminal illness the challenges ahead, both physically and financially, are unimaginable. The numbers in our research are almost certainly worse now and will only get higher in the coming months as the cost of living crisis deepens.”
To end poverty at the end of life, sign the Marie Curie petition calling on the UK Government to take action.