Pay carers who accompany claimants to medicals, say Liberal Democrats

PLiberal Democrat Councillor Garth Harkness has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd MP, asking for carers or companions who accompany claimants with disabilities to medicals to be reimbursed their travel expenses and for travel expenses to be reimbursed in cash on the day.

Councillor Harkness said: “The Department of Work and Pensions encourages claimants who apply for Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments to take along with them a carer or companion if they need assistance or support to attend their medical assessments.”

“Most assessments are carried out at Albert Bridge House in central Manchester requiring travel for most claimants by public transport, yet only the claimant is currently entitled to the reimbursement of reasonable travel expenses. This seems manifestly unfair; it disadvantages carers or companions who may need to accompany the claimant but are on a very low income and may struggle to afford the fare.”

“In addition, claimants are required to supply credit card or bank details to be reimbursed or be sent a cheque covering the fares. This seems unduly bureaucratic. I cannot see why the claimant and their carer, who will both most likely be on a low income, being reimbursed in cash on the day up to, say, £10 per person.”

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