Earlier this year, a report by the ‘National Audit Office’ and a ‘Public Accounts Committee’, estimated that 70,000 disabled people had been underpaid ESA following their immigration from incapacity benefit. This was due to the DWP’s failure to consider if they qualified to be paid top up income based ESA.
Both held this situation to have been entirely avoidable and criticised the DWP’s failure to design a process that reflected ESA legislation or listen to its staff, claimants and stakeholders and who drew attention to the problem.
Esther McVey – former Secretary of State at the DWP
Amber Rudd – the new Secretary of State at the DWP
The department has begun the process of reviewing around 900,000 ESA cases to identify those that could be affected. It expects to complete its review and pay arrears to all cases back to their date of conversion to ESA by the end of 2019.
Sue Bott – Disability Rights UK deputy CEO
This is what Sue had to say. “The DWP has known about these underpayments since 2013. They spent five years trying to hide behind constructing a legal argument as to why they shouldn’t pay up despite the hardship they have caused to tens of thousands of disabled people.”
She added, “Earlier this year, thankfully, they abandoned that approach. We urge DWP to urgently ensure all under payments are rectified as soon as possible. This has gone on far too long. Enough is enough.”
But what has happened to the money due to those who have sadly passed away? We have written to the Minister (Ms. Amber Rudd) – so watch this space.