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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Work capability issues and ESA  →  Thread

ESA – migration cases – inaccurate IRESA assessments?

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Jo_Smith
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And it wasn’t even you who spotted the problem:
“Conservative MP sparked cries of disbelief from the benches when she went on to defend civil servants caught up in the scandal, telling the House: “In fact, it was the good housekeeping of the DWP that spotted the scale of the error.
It was during the routine work which is undertaken on fraud and error that actually detected the scale of the problem.”

https://m.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/minister-sarah-newton-dwp-good-housekeeping_uk_5bc8d34de4b0a8f17eea61eb?utm_hp_ref=uk-politics&ncid=other_homepage_tiwdkz83gze&utm_campaign=mw_entry_recirc

     
Mr Finch
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Andrew Dutton - 19 October 2018 12:25 PM

From reading the transcript of the Parliamentary debate, I can only glean the ‘facts’ that the DWP is wonderful really, the minister is a lovely person, and the Opposition is horrid-poo and asks nasty questions because it likes being nasty.

You’d certainly get the impression that it was a massive act of generosity, not that they’d been forced to back down after exhausting every avenue of appeal.

     
Andrew Dutton
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“Conservative MP sparked cries of disbelief from the benches when she went on to defend civil servants caught up in the scandal, telling the House: “In fact, it was the good housekeeping of the DWP that spotted the scale of the error.
It was during the routine work which is undertaken on fraud and error that actually detected the scale of the problem.”

To borrow a pet word from a friend, as I do occasionally -

                                            “Gad!!!”

     
Jo_Smith
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If I could milk your frustration Andrew; do you think there is any scope of arguing that DWP should look at not only the date of migration but widen their examination, especially if evidence has been provided?
This way we could give these civil servants further chance of doing such a good job, as espoused by the minister….

     
Andrew Dutton
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Agreed. An opportunity for the gov’t to show it is a government and not a collection of warring departments keen to grab credit and shuck off blame. If they can identify those who should have had IRESA, have they not identified entitlement to various passported benefits at the same time? Can they explain what’s so flippin’ hard???

     
unhindered by talent
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I saw earlier in the thread that some clients have had large payments divided up. Am I being paranoid in thinking they could be trying to limit capital disregards? Their FAQ’s are saying arrears of less than £5k are disregarded for 52 weeks but payments over £5k are disregarded indefinitely or to end of award. My client’s £24 000 odds arrears were divided up into several equal payments and if they turn out to be less than £5k, will DWP say all fall to be counted in 52 weeks? If payment had been a lump sum it would not.

Edit: Checked and the arrears came in 5 payments of £4900 each :-(

      [ Edited: 29 Oct 2018 at 08:50 am by unhindered by talent ]
unhindered by talent
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In reply to my own post above - the letter awarding the £24k states ‘We will not add £24678.70 payment to any capital or savings you have already told us about until your claim ends. If you make a new claim for benefits after 13th October 2019 your benefit may be affected by this payment.”

     
MickD
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I think the reason for the five payments each under £5,000 is that there is (or used to be) what is known as a delegated limit that local offices can pay up to without authorisation.  If a payment is over £5,000 it used to have to go to Bootle office for authorisation.  It was the case, I think, that payments over £5,000 were also automatically considered for a compensatory payment at Bootle.  On the one hand split payments can be made more quickly but on the other hand compensation is possibly not being looked at. 

I must admit that I have lost track of this thread and am not sure whether the DWP has completely ruled out compensation in irESA migration cases.

     
unhindered by talent
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Ah, thanks for that. I did wonder whether it was an admin issue.

     
Andrew Dutton
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Here’s something worth bearing in mind: the Public Accounts Committee has asked DWP to respond to this by the end of this month:

5.The Department’s abysmal communication with claimants exacerbated the scale and impact of its error. It is the Department’s responsibility to set the rules covering benefit claims and entitlement, and to communicate these clearly to applicants and claimants. How well it does this will affect claimants’ ability to claim the benefits that they are entitled to. The Disability Benefits consortium and NAWRA confirmed our experience as Members of Parliament representing our constituents, which is that the Department’s communications with claimants are at times incomprehensible. We welcome the Accounting Officer’s frank admission that even he does not understand all the letters his Department sends to claimants. In the case of transferring claimants from the old incapacity benefits to ESA, the Department issued forms to claimants that did not make clear that claimants could be substantially better off if they were also entitled to ESA on income grounds. Without this information, there is no reason why claimants would necessarily have known why it was important to contact the Department about their benefits.
Recommendation: The Department should review urgently: the clarity; accessibility; simplicity; and ease of reading of all its letters to claimants and report back to the committee by the end of November 2018 on the results and what steps it has taken to improve them.

     
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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See copy of a DWP covering letter proforma i.e.contacting claimant’s etc. May be of interest.

     

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The CASA
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Is it possible to download a form to claim the backdated ESA in relation to being migrated into the WRAG?

     
Andrew Dutton
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Via a local MP, we took up the issue of underpaid IRESA and health costs.

A reply from Sarah Newton has just come through, here are the highlights:

‘A data-matching process is already in place and is available to the NHS Business Services Authority to check for people who are in receipt of income-related benefits. Patients can challenge a Penalty Charge Notice if they think there has been a mistake…and they can show they have not acted wrongfully or with any lack of care.’ (1)

‘At no point have we actually stopped individuals from making a claim to income-related benefits’. (2)

‘I am aware that there are potential improvements to be made to the ESA entitlement letter. It is currently being reviewed and changes have been drafted, working with relevant stakeholders to ensure that meet all the required standards and do, in fact, reduce the uncertainty around the award being made. The points raised in your letter will be included in the review and taken in to consideration.’ (3)

(1) we need to press NHSBA on this, and urge that they review all cases
(2) I beg to differ. Misleading people has the effect of…stopping people.
(3) Horse. Stable door. Et cetera. Where were your four years ago, chaps?

Does anyone know who the stakeholders are, are you perhaps a stakeholder? Can anyone shed any light on this process?

     
Jo_Smith
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HB Anorak - 01 October 2018 08:55 AM

PS just thinking how an official error case could work: it would be that DWP’s original failure to assess for ESA(ir) meant that s/he was not put on notice to report any change in income: had they known that they failed to qualify for ESA(ir) due to student income, they would have reported the changes.

My client was not entitled Ito IR ESA on the day of migration because she was getting a student income. We have submitted supersession request because later on her circumstances changed and she lost her student income.

At that time she wrote to DWP to say that she will soon stop being a student. She said “Please advise me if there is anything I need to do in order to continue claiming ESA”

Soon afterwards she was an interviewed by the Fraud and Error team, following some malicious allegations and came through clean as a whistle.  Her student income was reviewed and she was told because she is in receipt of C ESA , her income is irrelevant.

My supersession request was refused because:
1. “With every benefit notification letter issued to you, you are also sent an information booklet ESA40. This booklet clearly states that you must tell us straight away if any of your circumstances change”
2. “When you wrote to us in May to tell us that you would cease to be a student in June, action cannot be taken on the notification of potential change. Action can only be taken on notification that the change has actually occurred.”
3. Re Fraud team interview: “Any evidence gathered by them at that time regarding your circumstances would be to ensure that you were not receiving benefits incorrectly.”


I need help with expanding on Anorak’s argument, in view of DWP’s statement that claimant is obliged to report any changes. What about changes which claimant thinks (and was told) are irrelevant?

What about my client, wanting to be careful, gives prior notice of c.o.c and asks for instructions? This is then ignored because it has not “actually occured”.

And finally, the Fraud team building a Chinese wall between themselves and some sort of “other” ESA departments, to the point that no information is passed through. Bizarre.

I feel this is a bigger issue. The single day of migration should certainly be a focus but not to the point of dismissal of scenarios like this one, whereby cluents who learn about this whole migration fiasco from newspapers, advisers, etc, apply for the backdate and fail, because of this single date. Many of them did notify DWP about c.o.c and got ignored, or their correspondence was lost. My client tells me she has sent letters by recorded delivery, and I have seen copies, but DWP response denies receiving some of these letters.

My client could really do with couple of thousands she could have been getting, if both parties played by the rules, but seems like some want to play dirty with a severely disabled young woman,  God forgive them…