ESA underpayments and time line for claimants to be refunded

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Sunshine Meadows

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Thank you  >bighugs< and please also see this thread http://ouchtoo.org/index.php?topic=10273.0.

People can post on either  >star<

lankou

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Just appeared on the BBC news website:-

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45892109

Benefits errors trigger 5,000 refunds for ESA claimants
4 minutes ago

Tens of thousands of people on sickness benefits will receive backdated payments averaging 5,000 following government errors.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has revealed it is paying more than 1.5bn owing to the mistakes.

Some people have already received payouts of more than 10,000.

The mistaken calculations were made when people were moved on to the main sickness benefit, the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

The errors were first revealed by BBC News in November, but the scale of the underpayments has now emerged.

Universal credit rollout delayed yet again
ESA repayments: Terminally ill people are 'priority'
Assessors wrongly calculated the income of thousands of people during the process that resulted in people moving from incapacity benefit and severe disability allowance onto ESA.

Most of the errors occurred between 2011 and 2014.

'Appalling failure'
In a newly published document, the DWP said: "We estimate that around 180,000 people could be owed arrears payments, with around 105,000 estimated to be repaid during 2018-19 and 75,000 during 2019-20."

The government had previously said that all the backdated payments would be completed by April 2019.

The DWP said that the backdated payments totalled 970m. It now also faced a larger bill for ongoing ESA awards, costing the department more than 700m extra until 2024-25, bringing the total cost to 1.67bn.

Frank Field, who chairs the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, said: "It is welcome news that the government is finally making progress towards repaying people who have missed out on ESA.

"Its best estimate is that it owes claimants 970m - but the final bill could be even higher. The government must learn lessons from this appalling failure, as it faces the much bigger challenge of moving people onto Universal Credit."

The government has 400 people working on claims, with the priority on those who are terminally ill. Around 18,000 arrears payments have already been made totalling 120m. The average payment so far is about 7,000.

ESA history
Labour introduced ESA in 2008, claiming the change would move a million people off sickness benefit and save the Treasury 7bn. The shift from incapacity benefits to ESA was then accelerated by the coalition government.

The payments have come to light in a week when the government has faced severe criticism for its flagship welfare reform, Universal Credit.

On Tuesday, BBC News revealed that ministers were further delaying the rollout of the system, which merges six benefits into one.

JLR2

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I plain have not a clue as to whether or not I might be due this backdated benefit money. I remember when I was first moved to ESA that for some reason I was on contribution related ESA before going onto income related. I never quite understood what the contribution ESA was all about but carried on as I just thought that was the way the system worked.

Anyone have any idea how a claimant works out if they are due this backdated money?  I'd be very nervous contacting the DWP to ask it if I am due backdated benefit payments as I'm wary of the DWP using any contact as an excuse to set off a claim for UC.

Monic1511

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People who were moved into the Support Group are typically in the Contribution based ESA.  Income related ESA is topped up when someone is due the disability premium and they could also be due severe disability premium depending on the DLA award and their living conditions.


The reason this is important is that people on contribution based benefit only often had to pay rent and council tax charges,  if you get 10p of income related benefit you are entitled to full housing benefit and full council tax charge.


The next step is are your saving below the 6000 (working age) limit.


Any award of DLA/PIP gets the disability premium

Severe Disability premium is paid if the claimant gets Middle rate care DLA or standard daily living of PIP AND they live alone and no one claims carers allowance for them


Enhanced Disability premium is paid if you get high rate care / enhanced daily living and are in the support group
rates are DP33.55, SDP 64.30 EDP 16.40 per week - 2018 rates


correct me if I'm wrong - its a bit late and I'm tired.  >thumbsup<

If you are already on ESA you can ask if DWP are aware you live alone and get PIP and tell them what the rates are.  This is not a reason to transfer you to UC and cannot be used as a reason, I think you are a home owner so cant claim housing benefit anyway and thats the only reason you'd claim UC - unless you have a new baby and want to claim the UC equivalent of tax credits  >yikes<
 >lol<
Monic

ATurtle

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As with all matters relating to any government department, even a simple answer is as clear as mud!

Why the government have to make things so complicated is beyond me, you should be either entitled to a benefit or not, not six shades of slightly different grey.  One day, the difference between Contribution or Income Related will be explained in a simple flowchart that people can understand.

Does the claimant have savings? Yes, let them eat gateau; No. let them eat cake.

OK, that was an extreme example, but hopefully it gives an idea.
Tony.

"I choose not to place "DIS", in my ability." - Robert M. Hensel

gus

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If I remember correctly I was moved from IB to ESA SG 2010. I contacted the DWP at least three times and told them my award was incorrect and I was entitled to a income based top up. Each time I called I was told I was wrong. Early 2013 I requested an ESA3 form completed it and duly returned it.

The DWP awarded me a top up which I should have got when I was moved across. I know I am entitled to back dated money because my situation when awarded the top up was exactly the same in 2010. Like many other people I am dubious whether to contact the DWP and trigger an assessment.   

Sunshine Meadows

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Gus,
It looks like you will be entitled to a payment of the backdated money. I think the DWP are supposed to get in touch with claimants and so you could just wait and see. I personally cant remember anyone posting about having got in touch with the DWP about their claim and have it triggering a reassessment. Whether you phone DWP is going to depend on how stressed you feel about waiting to see if you get a payment as opposed to the stress of worrying if you triggered a reassessment.

https://www.turn2us.org.uk/About-Us/News/Many-ESA-claimants-to-receive-backdated-payments

Quote
The DWP has said that they are working to identify and repay people affected and that some payments have already started. They said that everyone who could be affected will be contacted directly by the department.

On a more positive note if the backdated payment takes people over the Income Based ESA savings limit of 6000 claimants are given a year to spend money to bring their saving down to below that limit.

Of course getting backdated money now is not going to properly compensate claimants who ended up in greater poverty because of the mistake made by the DWP. I have read posts where people have talked about being fined for incorrectly claiming Free Prescriptions when in fact they we actually entitled to free Prescriptions because they should have been getting some Income Based ESA,  >steam<

Sunshine Meadows

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Here is an update from Data Parliament UK link it opens up as a PDF, there is a lot to read 
Quote
Will payments of arrears be disregarded for the life of the award? Arrears of benefit under 5,000 are disregarded as capital for 52 weeks from the date they are paid. Payments of 5,000 or more will be disregarded for 52 weeks or until the termination of the benefit award, whichever is longer. We have also introduced the same capital disregard in Universal Credit (UC) in respect of arrears relating to legacy income-related benefit entitlement which begins before migration to UC is complete.

I wish there was some way of setting up some sort of investment structure that meant that the people getting the arrears could choose to get the money paid to them over several years. I suppose they could by gold bars like the super rich do  :-(