CAROLINE CALLS FOR SWIFT BENEFIT PAYMENTS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday stood up for terminally ill patients facing lengthy waits for their benefits.

During questions to the Department for Work and Pensions yesterday afternoon, Caroline highlighted hold ups in the system which deals with benefits claims made by people with terminal illnesses.

She asked:

"Casework in my constituency has shown that although the Department for Work and Pensions do well in identifying and prioritising claims made by terminally ill patients when those claims are passed to ATOS there is a lack of monitoring. What steps is the Department taking to ensuring that these claims are dealt with in a timely manner at every point in the system?"

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Minister of State for Disabled People, Mark Harper said:

"We've introduced a range of improvements for claims from terminally ill people. We're already seeing claims at around their expected level of ten days. The assessment providers treat these cases as a high priority; 99% are processed within two days and 100% within five days."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"It's important that all parts of our benefit system are as streamlined as possible but for claimants with terminal illnesses, it is crucial that payments are made on time. I am pleased that the Government shares this sentiment and hope that processing times can be brought down even further."