Thousands of Dental Patients Fined for Unsuitable Claims

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Thousands of people have been fined for falsely claiming free NHS dental care, it has been revealed.

Over the course of the last year, more than eight thousand people have been fined for claiming free treatment when they were in fact ineligible for free NHS treatment.

Some of those affected claimed that the rules and eligibility criteria were unclear, but the Department of Work and Pensions stressed that the information was very clear and readily available.

Vaneeta Sharma was one of those fined and was asked to pay a sum of £100 for claiming free treatment whilst in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance. Ms Sharma was fined because she was claiming contribution-based JSA, which is dependent on National Insurance contributions-people who receive this type of JSA are not entitled to claim free dental care.

In an interview with Radio 4, Ms Sharma said that the job centre had not made it clear that there were different types of Jobseeker’s Allowance and added that she could not afford the £100 fine. She also said that the letter she received from the Department of Work and Pensions did not make a clear distinction between income-based and contribution-based benefits.

Marie Clair, from the Campaign for Plain English, told Radio 4 that the information provided in the letter was unclear and called for the distinction between income-based and contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance to be made more “prominent”.

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