DWP Blunder Sees 75,000 Disability Benefit Claimants 'Underpaid' And Could Cost £500m To Fix

Monday 20 November, 2017 Written by 
DWP Blunder Sees 75,000 Disability Benefit Claimants 'Underpaid' And Could Cost £500m To Fix

Tens of thousands of disability and sickness benefit claimants may been underpaid by the DWP and it could cost up to £500million to correct the blunder.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) confirmed errors in payment of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) that could affect 75,000 people who transferred to it from incapacity benefits.

The errors affected people who applied for ESA between 2011/12 and 2014/15 and were identified by DWP late last year, according to BBC News, which first uncovered the error.

The department has contacted about 1000 of the people who could be affected so far, according to the BBC, and has begun making repayments.

Debbie Abrahams, shadow work and pensions secretary, said: "This is yet another example of the total failure of this Government to provide people with the support they need.

"From the chaotic introduction of Universal Credit to the quiet pushing back of the state pension age of 1950s women, it's been one disaster after another from the Department of Work and Pensions.

"The Government must act immediately to provide the support people are entitled to and apologise to all the people who have struggled to heat their homes and put food on their table."

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A DWP spokesman said: "We're aware of this issue and are currently reviewing the historical benefit payments of claimants.

"We've already contacted some of the people affected and are making repayments.

"Anyone potentially affected will be contacted by the department."

The revelation comes with the Government under pressure to reform Universal Credit, with critics complaining that some claimants are left with waits of six weeks or more for payments, which they say is pushing them into debt and rent arrears.

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