UK - MP for Preston Mark Hendrick is campaigning for reforms to give the terminally-ill access to their pensions at an earlier age.

Hendrick will table a 10 minute-rule bill - a way in which backbench MPs can introduce proposed legislation - before Parliament next week in a bid to help patients diagnosed with a terminal illness withdraw their pension, because they have a negative chance of reaching retirement age.

"Ideally, I think it would be good if pension funds themselves look into how they could accommodate such patients, because obviously this has not been looked at before," he told IPE.

He also plans to speak to the pension minister to see if there are options whereby the Pension Protection Fund (PFF) could extend its role to cater for such cases.

Hendrick identifies a reluctance to pay out pension to people before a pensionable age because of increasing life expectancy, "nevertheless, there is a very important group of people who do make contributions who will never have the opportunity to draw on them".

Nick Kirwan, head of health and protection at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), told IPE: "I think that is a very welcome suggestion by the MP that does make perfect sense, although we do have to be careful to balance the interest of any surviving partner there might be."

Kirwan noted there are complexities in defining 'terminal illness' but the ABI has introduced a standard definition for the purposes of critical illness contracts, essentially outlining there has to be a diagnosis of an illness that will lead to death within in 12 months.

It is yet unclear if there should be an age limit from which a terminally-ill patient should be allowed to draw his or her pension, said Hendrick.

However, Kirwan suggested: "My understanding is this would be about providing earlier access for people who wouldn't normally be able to get access to their pension fund, so the age limit therefore doesn't need to apply."