DWP phone call now even more convinced I will not recieve ESA back date

  • 11 Replies
  • 248 Views

gus

  • *
  • Diamond member
  • ****
  • Posts: 245
I called the DWP to enquire if I could discuss the matter of back dated ESA payments. I informed the lady I was migrated to ESA from IB and like many others was not awarded the income based top up. The lady asked for my NI number which I gave and informed me I was claiming income based ESA. I said "sorry that is incorrect I am claiming contribution based and currently receive the same amount I did on incapacity benefit". I explained I have every letter the DWP have ever sent me and all of them state my claim is contribution based.

I told the lady I filled in an ESA 3 form 2013 because I believed my benefit award was incorrect, I was correct because I then received the income based top up I should have got when I was moved to ESA. I explained when my wife claimed carers my income based top up awards were removed and my claim ended up lower than the original IB claim, so the DWP re-awarded my original migrated amount of ESA without the top up and the letter states it is contribution based. Her reply "when you were migrated to ESA you would have been awarded contribution based or income based you would have received whichever award was higher". My reply "I was awarded contribution based and all your letters state contribution based plus IB was contribution based hence why I was awarded contribution based ESA". She still wouldn't have none of it and still claimed I am receive income based ESA and have been since my award in 2011.

At this stage I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall. I said could I speak to the department handling the backdated claims the answer "no" she said they would contact me if I was owed any money. I said "I don't think they will contact me because your records state I am claiming income based benefits and have been since 2011 which is incorrect". She replied "you will just have to wait for them to contact you". I ended the call politely with even more doubt that I will receive what is due. When I was migrated to ESA I called the DWP several times over two years and told them my claim was incorrect and I should have an income based top up. Each time I called I was informed I was wrong and they were right well DWP I was right wasn't I and not only did you not award me my correct entitlement you did the same to hundreds of thousands of other claimants.

Now it looks like they have messed up my current claim. I am not going to let this go and at present I am drafting a letter to the DWP and will also included copies of every letter they have ever sent me. This includes my migration letter which clearly states contribution based ESA. 
 

Fiz

  • *
  • Charter Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4058
My advice would be to make an appointment for a face to face with your MP if possible and take letters and explain the DWP inconsistencies. If you can't face seeing the MP write the full letter of explanation together with copies of your award letters that state the award is contribution based. The MP is able to get the case looked at immediately by top level staff and a response in days.

I mistakenly took on the tax people for 18 months of stress and increased mental illness before I took the matter to my MP. A week later I received a letter from tax people apologising for their mistake and a £25 cheque compensation for the stress caused. I think they totally undervalued the stress they caused me! But I wish that I had gone to my MP sooner. Organisations read their letters first and are dealt with at top level.  >hugs<

oldtone27

  • *
  • Charter Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2796
I totally agree with Fiz. Just writing to the DWP will result in your letter being treated as thousands of others and dished out to languish in someone's in tray until they find time to deal with it with no sense of urgency.

An MP's letter on the other hand lands on some senior persons desk and is passed down with a note to find out what this is about and usually some deadline for a response. This usually establishes a chain of responsibility and no one wants to be left holding the baby so the matter is investigated and responded to  swiftly.

Unless of course the department is in absolute chaos. Even then the last thing senior staff want is a shirty follow up letter from an MP asking what happened to their query.

Not a guarantee of action but much more likely to get a result than being fobbed off.

Monic1511

  • *
  • Moderator Welfare Rights
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2390
Hi Gus
You are correct that you can get income based ESA on top of contribution based ESA but when the DWP front line staff see a income based payment they assume that the award is correct.


You could ask for a subject access request showing all calculations back to when you were migrated from IB to ESA.
The current trawl of IB to ESA claimants is looking for underpaid severe disability premium and they are still working through it.  I am unsure of your situation but for you to be eligible for severe disability premium you would need to either live alone and no one claim carers allowance for you, or your wife be on DLA/AA/PIP middle or high rate care.


The other disability premiums are not automatic on ESA but as Fiz says I would ask your MP to write to the DWP and ask for a case manager to review your entitlement to the start of your claim.  You might get fobbed off with the "we are reviewing 50,000 claimants and this takes time and we will get to Gus eventually, we are due to start this cohort in August 2019" >erm<

gus

  • *
  • Diamond member
  • ****
  • Posts: 245
Thanks for the replies I would not really want to involve my MP for personal reasons.

Hi Monic1511 I have never had an income based claim my claims have always been contribution based so I don't know why the DWP think my claim is income based. A SAR is a good suggestion but I don't need a SAR I have every letter from the DWP they will only send me the same paperwork. After being migrated to ESA 2011 to 2013 I received contribution only 2013 to 2017 my claim was contribution based with an income top up after filling in the ESA 3 form. My wife does not claim carers for me and never has she claims carers for our son which started in early 2017 the DWP then removed the income based part of my claim

I thought the DWP were having to look at all migrated claims from IB to ESA not just people who did not receive disability premiums? This is because the DWP failed to assess claimants for entitlement to C-ESA and IR-ESA when migrated from IB which they should have done.


"A claim for ESA is legally a claim for both contributory ESA (C-ESA) and income-related ESA (IR-ESA), your entitlement to both elements of ESA should be considered." "The DWP accepted, in July 2018, that the failure to consider IR-ESA was an official error and that, as a result, backdating is payable back to the date of the conversion to ESA."

I was not accessed for income based benefits when migrated and should have been, I would have been awarded a IR top up as my circumstances when migrated were the same as when I was awarded the top up after the ESA 3 form.Are you saying the DWP are currently only looking at claimants that missed out on disability premiums?
« Last Edit: 12 Feb 2019 12:57AM by gus »

Sunshine Meadows

  • *
  • Global Moderator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7944
Gus,

I am sorry the DWP area failing so badly in your case. It would save so many man hours and claimants being stressed out making phone calls if the call agents were well enough trained and allowed to give understandable explanations circumstances.

A while ago I was looking up information on Contributions Based ESA and Carer's Allowance. It turned out I can't get Carer's Allowance for looking after Mr Sunshine because I am already on a income replacing benefit ie Con ESA. This might be a red herring but maybe you wife getting Carers Allowance for your son somehow affected you claim for ESA that is if it is a joint claim.

Monic1511

  • *
  • Moderator Welfare Rights
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2390
Hi Gus
as far as I know the DWP are looking at everyone who was transferred from IB to ESA.

I will take a guess at your possible entitlement but will use 2018 figures, you said you got income related ESA top up until your wife claimed carers.

a couple Need £114.85
the support group premium is added £37.65
total £152.50

subtract from that ESA CON based £110.75
£41.75 would be paid as income based ESA

Your wife claims carers allowance of £64.60 so that gets added to your £110.75 giving a total income of £175.35
the amount you need according to gov is £188.50 so your income related ESA3 would be £13.15.
The easiest way to look at your whole award would be to do the official letter via your MP asking why the DWP are stalling in calculating any back money due.  The problem with SDP is the rules around it - you qualify for SDP is you live alone an no one claims carer or all the others you live with are in receipt of DLA MR care or higher.
Its hard to explain here so keep asking.

Sunshine Meadows - you said you were getting con based ESA so couldnt get carers allowance, you should have received a letter that says you have "underlying entitlement to carers allowance"  this means you have an award but dont get the cash as your ESA is a higher amount than carers allowance BUT you are entitled to a carers premium of £36.00 but it can only be paid is you get an income related benefit.  so if anyone gets income related ESA or pension credit make sure DWP know that you have underlying entitlement to carers allowance.
 

Sunshine Meadows

  • *
  • Global Moderator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7944
Thank you Monic, I don't remember getting a letter saying I had underlying entitlement to Carer's Allowance however that does not mean I did not get one. 


Quote
BUT you are entitled to a carers premium of £36.00 but it can only be paid is you get an income related benefit.  so if anyone gets income related ESA or pension credit make sure DWP know that you have underlying entitlement to carers allowance.

 
>thumbsup<


Mr Sunshine is managing to hold onto his job and while it means we don't get any income based benefits, free prescriptions (we buy season tickets) or free dental treatment we do get a Tax Credit. That Tax Credit and Mr Sunshine's PIP are what allowed us to get a mortgage.

Gus,

With Contributions Based ESA it is like they give with one hand and take with another. It does seem to me that they only people that get a real benefit from Con ESA are those who have partner's who work. :-( I hope you get at least some money refunded.

gus

  • *
  • Diamond member
  • ****
  • Posts: 245
Thanks for the replies.
My award was 2012 not 2011 as I said in OP.
The plot thickens I have been carefully reading through my paperwork. As far as I know you cannot be moved from C-ESA to IR-ESA unless there is a break in your claim of at least 13 weeks. I have never had a break in my claim since starting my original IB claim. My award when moved to ESA 2012 was C-ESA £154.60pw the same as I got on IB. After I completed the ESA 3 form early 2013 the DWP sent a letter showing their workings as below. The letter states due to a change in circumstances, it was not a change I wanted what I was entitled to due to the DWP error, we now all know was made when assessing thousands of other migrated claims.

Living expenses
Disability income guarantee
Support group
Income-related amount £169.10 there is no mention the claim is contribution based with a top up. I needed to know what type of claim I had and called the DWP 2013 and was told my claim was contribution based with a IR top up. I received a letter a few days after my phone call which said my claim was income based from Feb 2012 and was still live. This information is incorrect my claim was contribution based as per my 2012 award letter when placed in the support group. Reading letters from the DWP for 2013/14/15 the letters seem to contradict this and state my award was income based?

The DWP letters received after the ESA 3 form until my wife claimed carers mid 2015 had the same workings as above with slightly increased amounts per tax year,all listing the claim as income based?
After claiming carers the DWP letter had workings as below.
Living expenses for you and your partner £114.85
Money because your partner is a carer   
Disability income guarantee             
Support group                       
Total                                £208.25

Then they remove the carers £62.10 from the above total which is now £146.15 all the above entitlements are removed.
The letter then states because you are entitled to contribution-based ESA we will pay you £154.60. This is the same amount I got in 2012.
The letter then says included in your ESA entitlement is a top up payment £45.30 which ensures you won't see a reduction in the level of your benefit entitlement as a result of the change to ESA. I gather this maybe IR but the letter does not give any more information.

The DWP now verbally state I am on IR-ESA but the letters after 2015 state C-ESA with a top up so I don't get less than my original IB claim. It looks like the DWP awarded me C-ESA with no top up then changed me to IR-ESA then back to C-ESA but still tell me my claim is IR-ESA. I am very concerned about this since my area is now full universal credit and we would lose a considerable amount of money on universal credit. Also I would not be considered for the lost backdated benefits.
 


Monic1511

  • *
  • Moderator Welfare Rights
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2390
Hi Gus
I'll admit at the start that I could never work out why some people were transferred from IB to ESA and lost the status contribution based and others kept it.

Your correct that the award seems to be con based with an income related top up, what might confuse your claim is the transitional protection that you have - the protection of your old amount so that you don't lose money when transferred to ESA.  When ESA first came in we were told that there was WRAG and support group but there were no disability premiums.  yes you'll get carers premiums but the basic disability premium about £15/week is paid to JSA claimants but not ESA claimants.


Regarding your concern about universal credit - you cannot be moved onto UC as you get PIP, your wife needs to look at her situation and see if she qualifies for PIP.  The only way you would make a claim to universal credit would be if you were found fit for work, your housing benefit ended and your esa ended.  You would then have the choice to exist on your PIP money until appeal is accepted and be put back onto ESA OR claim UC and get money in 5 weeks but be unable to return to ESA.

Government is not moving people over yet mainly because the regulations to transfer people have not been passed in law yet - or are just being passed today - I saw a link in a newsletter to the regs but havent looked at it yet.


I would suggested that you put in a written request to make sure all your premiums are in place.  As long as your confident you meet the ESA support group regs and couldnt be found fit.  Its my inner cynic that is wary as you dont want to trigger an ESA50 form which they seem to send if you contact them.
good luck

Sunshine Meadows

  • *
  • Global Moderator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7944
Quote
The letter then says included in your ESA entitlement is a top up payment £45.30 which ensures you won't see a reduction in the level of your benefit entitlement as a result of the change to ESA. I gather this maybe IR but the letter does not give any more information.

I Googled and food this old document https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/245376/ib-reassessment-transitional.pdf

Customer is entitled to transitional additions for both ESA(C) and ESA(IR) Customers who are entitled to both ESA(C) and ESA(IR) may be entitled to a transitional addition on top of each element of ESA. Where a customer is entitled both to ESA(C) and to ESA(IR), the two amounts payable (including the transitional additions) will be compared and the higher amount will be paid in the normal way. Where ESA(IR) exceeds the ESA(C) amount, the full amount of ESA(C) and the ESA TA(C) remains taxable

Long ago I worked in a call centre so I know how things can be and it is making me wonder if the DWP call agent same a Income related amount listed and assumed it means you are on income related. Call centre turn over can be so high that it is fairly likely that few people working there now were involved with the move from IB to ESA.

I agree with Monic about making a written request however before you do that it might be worth ringing the DWP back and immediately ask for a Team Leader or Manager then get their name. They should not need to keep their call duration down and so should be able to go through you claim step by step. This only works if you have the stamina to push to speak to the manager and get the answers you need. It depends how you are about phone calls but if you can do that you can add the information you get to any letter you send.

Monic1511

  • *
  • Moderator Welfare Rights
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2390
And just to prove its not over yet - this appeared on rightsnet today
Errors in incapacity benefit to ESA conversion decisions continued beyond 2014
New DWP analysis means a further 30,000 cases are to be reviewed, bringing the total to 600,000
Errors in incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance (ESA) conversion decisions continued beyond 2014, according to new research and analysis from the DWP.
In 'February 2019: ESA underpayments: forecast numbers affected, forecast expenditure and progress on checking', the DWP advises that it is in the process of reviewing around 570,000 cases that could be affected by incorrect decisions made on the conversion from incapacity benefit to ESA between 2011 and 2014, but adds -
'As a precaution, the department has undertaken additional testing of cases converted in 2015 and placed in the support group to assure itself that the guidance changes implemented in 2014 were effective. This testing has shown that the level of error did not improve sufficiently following the issuing of new guidance to provide assurance that no further problems remained. For this reason, the department will also be reviewing around 30,000 cases that were converted from previous incapacity benefits from 2015 onwards. This results in around 600,000 ESA cases being reviewed overall.'
Reporting on the progress made on reassessments so far, the DWP advises that out of the original 320,000 cases identified (Phase 1) -
310,000 have started the reassessment journey;
270,000 have been contacted by the Department to gather data to review their claim;
207,000 have completed the reassessment journey, of which 58,000 qualified for arrears; and
£328 million historical arrears have been paid to date with an average payment of £6,000.
NB - the further 250,000 cases which are to be reviewed following the Secretary of State’s announcement in July 2018 to pay all cases back to the point of conversion (Phase 2) is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
For more information see February 2019: ESA underpayments: forecast numbers affected, forecast expenditure and progress on checking from gov.uk