Penalty charges for incorrect exemption claims to stay

Penalty charges for incorrect exemption claims to stay

Replying to a question from Rushanara Ali Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, health minister Steve Brine MP said that there were no plans to change the system for raising penalties where a disabled or unwell patient wrongly claims exemption from patient charges.

Rushanara Ali MP asked if the Department would pause the imposition of NHS benefit eligibility check (BECs) prescription penalty charge notices on disabled and unwell people who have been mistakenly awarded contribution-based employment and support allowance instead of income-based employment and support allowance.

Junior Minister, Steve Brine MP replied that eligibility checks are carried out on claims received by the NHS BSA for exemption from dental patient charges and prescription charges. The checks are carried out through separate services within the NHS BSA, for dental patient charges the process is Benefit Eligibility Checking Service and for prescriptions it is the Prescription Eligibility Checking Service.

For both dental charges and prescriptions, where a patient claims exemption but the NHS BSA checks do not show entitlement, the NHS BSA will issue a penalty notice. However, if the patient or the Department of Work and Pensions later provide evidence that the DWP made an incorrect assessment and the individual was in fact entitled to a qualifying benefit then the NHS BSA will remove all charges.

He said: “There are no current plans to change this approach in regard to the current issue the Department of Work and Pensions have identified but NHS BSA will keep the situation under review.”

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