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EHRC and DWP standards


Andrew Dutton
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Derbyshire Welfare Rights Service

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Total Posts: 1463

Joined: 12 October 2012

This has just come up and it engages my interest in many ways. I’ve been despairing lately because DWP is now the Department for Never Being Wrong.

In ESA and PIP terms, I am told by DWP that where claimants have been taken off benefit and given 0 points but then go back to Support Group/enhanced rates of PIP at appeal, there is no problem with decision making, and both we and the Tribunals have got it wrong.

In UC terms, the change to DNBW was driven home by my attempts to get DWP to address the issue of official error causing UC overpayments - DWP paying IRESA and UC for up to three months because they haven’t got a proper system for the two sections to communicate, then just calmly recovering the money from the claimant no matter how badly off or disadvantaged that claimant may be.

DWP refuses to accept that this is maladministration caused by official error, arguing that they do not consider themselves ‘time bound’ in the process of stopping IRESA.  So it could go on forever. The expectation is that the claimant will spot the overpayment and set the money aside to pay back later.

Not when you’ve been wrongly told you’ll get transitional protection, as some have been. But DWP simply denies this advice was given.

I hope the EHRC’s intervention will result in some accountability, but clearly this will take a long time.

Mike Hughes
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Senior Welfare Rights Officer (Take-Up), Salford WRS.

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Behind the scenes the EHRC can quietly tackle things in a number of meaningful ways and compel certain things to happen and they’re certainly back to being on the front foot for the first time in a while. It wouldn’t be appropriate to post here but you can rest assured that some things are definitely going on behind this latest announcement.

I’m merely appreciative that and and have all come out in the days immediately before our first ever UC accessibility meeting tomorrow morning.