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Employment and Support Allowance: Fines

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 154039, tabled on 14 April 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many contribution-based ESA claimants have been fined as a result of an erroneous belief that they were entitled to claim free dental treatment while on benefits.

Answered on

25 April 2022

In 2019/2020, the NHS Business Services Authority issued 12,411 Penalty Charge Notices to patients who had provided receipt of Employment and Support Allowance as an exemption for their dental treatment. Prior to the issuance of a fine, patients are permitted to demonstrate their eligibility for free National Health Service dental treatment.

Exemption checking for NHS dentistry was paused during the pandemic to limit the spread of COVID-19 through the handling and signing of papers between patients and dental staff. Patient signatures were reintroduced on 1 September 2021.