GOSPORT MP Caroline Dinenage has urged the government to ensure that Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claims have the medical evidence needed to ensure that they are dealt with fairly and efficiently.
She spoke during questions to the Department of Work and Pensions. ESA claims are made by individuals who receive benefits as a result of ill health or disability and are assessed by work capability evaluators, Atos.
Caroline visited the Atos Assessment Centre in Portsmouth and learned how the claims system and medical evaluation process works, and how vital evidence often only comes to light once a claim has been rejected and is going through the appeal process.
Caroline said: ‘I was shocked to hear that these cases are often drawn out simply because the necessary medical documents aren’t produced when the case first opens – sometimes because GP surgeries or specialists don’t return their reports in time for the ESA medical assessment. I welcome the government’s commitment to work in partnership with claimants and members of the medical profession in order to obtain the correct information as early as possible.’