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Social Fund

Volume 264: debated on Monday 23 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if financial assistance will be made available to claimants of income support who need to produce medical reports for third parties or other purposes such as insurance claims but are unable to pay the hospital consultant's fee because such work is classed as category 2 work. [37157]

We have no plans to do so. In this type of case, the practitioner concerned has discretion to decide whether to make a charge and how payment should be made. Furthermore, where a person is granted legal aid to pursue a claim for personal injury, the legal aid fund will meet all reasonable costs of successfully proving the case. This will include the cost of obtaining a medical report. It is also open to a person receiving income support to apply to the social fund for an award to meet an occasional expense which is difficult to budget for. Decisions on social fund applications are made by social fund officers who are required to exercise discretion when making decisions and to operate within a fixed budget.