Two clients have shown me two identical letters this week that each of them has received regarding their ESA. The letters are notices of their ESA being reviewed. The stated reason is (and this bit is emphasised) “……you didn’t tell us that your Disability Living Allowance has ended”. The letter talks about an overpayment and ends with a thinly veiled threat of a civil penalty. A reply slip is included. Both were failed conversion cases.
Part of the response that I compiled for one client included a passage stating that the DLA stopped by operation of law (a decision on the PIP claim) and that the ending of DLA is not in itself a notifiable change of circumstances. This is even before we get into the differing qualifying criteria for ESA/DLA/PIP.
To my mind this is disgraceful behaviour by the Department. Vulnerable people already reeling from the loss of financial support are being kicked while they are down, by a threat of legal action. Just when you thought the Department couldn’t stoop any lower it has orchestrated a campaign of state bullying. I hope its employees are proud of themselves.
I am left to wonder whether this is a national trend or the handiwork of some overzealous local official. Anyone else seen this?