The DWP has finally surrendered and agreed to repay ESA claimants all the money that was unlawfully withheld from them, it was announced yesterday. The u-turn follows the publication of a highly critical report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
In March of this year we reported that the DWP failed to award income-related ESA to around 70,000 claimants who were transferred from incapacity benefit to contribution-based ESA from 2011 onwards.
Affected claimants are owed between £2,500 and £20,000 each.
However, the DWP had insisted that they were only legally obliged to repay underpayments from 21 October 2014, when the upper tribunal first ruled that contribution-based and income-based ESA are a single benefit and that the DWP has a duty to assess claimants for eligibility to both types of ESA when a claim is made.
This meant that underpayments from before this date…
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