ESA – migration cases – inaccurate IRESA assessments?
I note that DWP is still sending out letters that completely wrongly assess IRESA, and/or give the figures for entitlement from a year or more ago.
Just looked at one from Nov 18 - the dreaded last page show entitlement from 2016-17.
Why do they do this?????
Problems are not going to go away completely unless they change the dratted letter completely - and they have not done this, and it appears that they will not do it.
They give you a calculation that covers a different period to the award in the main letter but it’s still the claimant’s responsibility to identify any errors and inform the DWP!
Do we know who was the rep? What a hero!
Hi Jo ,
I am the rep (Andy Campbell, Greenwich Welfare Rights). So delighted with this outcome which has been so long coming!
Our synopsis is below followed by a link to Parliamentary TV with an urgent question being raised today to get automatic compensation for all the 118,000 vulnerable persons impacted by the IB migration fiasco.
“Ombudsman forces DWP to compensate former Incapacity Benefit claimant in case brought by Royal Greenwich Welfare Rights Service
Following the introduction of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for new claimants in 2008, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) made a huge error of law when they migrated existing claimants from Incapacity Benefit to the new contribution-based ESA. The migration exercise which was carried out between 2011 to 2014 and involved up to 118,000 claimants, failed to consider whether these claimants were also entitled to an income related ESA top up to bring their income up to the minimum level they needed to live on as defined by law. This failure meant that many vulnerable claimants received significantly less ESA than they were legally entitled to for several years, leaving many in financial hardship. It also meant that they missed out on associated passported benefits that an award would have made available, such as free prescriptions and dental costs.
The DWP refused to accept they should have done so until they were compelled to do so by a High Court Judgement. Even then, they incorrectly argued they only needed to pay arrears from the date of the Judgement on 21 October 2014.
Royal Greenwich’s Welfare Rights Service interrogated Housing Benefit databases to identify and advise affected claimants who had been underpaid by the DWP. We were shocked to discover that many claimants (including those with severe disabilities) had been living in hardship, often having had fifty percent less to live on than they were entitled to for a sustained period of time. This meant they couldn’t afford to meet their essential living costs, such as to buy food to keep healthy or to heat their homes.
The DWP’s view was that paying people the benefit arrears which they should have received anyway was sufficient, but our Welfare Rights Service helped them recognise that this was not the case and how being continually underpaid for a long period of time and being unable to access passported benefits severely impacts on health conditions.
We raised a compensation case with the DWP via their complaints procedure of a vulnerable resident with severe disability who had received backdated arrears of income-related ESA, but had missed out on passported benefits (including the Warm Home Discount) for over 5 years. The case went through all the levels of the complaints procedure with the DWP refusing to award compensation saying that backdating ESA was sufficient. They also refused leave for the case to progress to the final stage of their procedure - to the Independent Case Examiner. Greenwich Welfare Rights initiated a further complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman via Clive Efford, the customer’s very supportive MP (despite the DWP’s failure to advise the claimant of her right to do so).
After a very long process, we are delighted that the Ombudsman has made a finding of maladministration by the DWP and awarded substantial compensation to this vulnerable resident (now aged 62 and in need of even more support) in recognition of the injustice and hardship she had suffered. We now hope that the Ombudsman’s recommendations to Parliament will result in DWP awarding compensation automatically to everyone who has been affected by the migration from Incapacity Benefit to ESA.”
Link to Parliamentary TV 13/01/2022:
Hi Jo, I am the rep (Andy Campbell, Greenwich Welfare Rights). So delighted with this outcome which has been so long coming
Brilliant work Andy ....
Well done indeed. Very depressing to see the response as quoted in the Rightsnet news item
“Mr Rutley responded by saying that, while claimants could contact the DWP on an individual basis ‘via the various helplines that have been set up’ if they feel they are owed further compensation, and the Department will consider the wider points raised in the report -
‘... in these situations we are typically not compelled to come forward with blanket compensation payments.’”
Fantastic outcome, my client who was the guinea pig for the DWP to use at UT to try and justify the limiting to Oct 2014, refused to even seek compensation/complain for the length of time it took the DWP to pay out following her UT hearing as she couldn’t cope with it.
I’m with Ian above, somehow I cannot see them automatically paying out to everyone involved unless asked directly and even then ..........
Amazing stuff Andy!!!!!!!!!!!!