CIT­I­ZENS AD­VICE

Glossop Advertiser - - News - Tom Togher

THOU­SANDS of peo­ple claim­ing Em­ploy­ment Sup­port Al­lowance un­der paid by DWP: A tri­bunal de­cided in 2015 that some claimants who con­verted from In­ca­pac­ity Ben­e­fit to con­trib­u­tory Em­ploy­ment Sup­port Al­lowance (ESA) be­tween 2010 and 2014 weren’t awarded the right amount of ESA.

This is be­cause the DWP didn’t check if claimants were also en­ti­tled to in­com­ere­lated ESA. The DWP has said: ”There are two main types of ESA:

• Con­tri­bu­tion-based, which is based on Na­tional In­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions.

• In­come-re­lated, which is a means-tested ben­e­fit.

In­come-re­lated ESA can be paid on its own or as a top-up to con­tri­bu­tion-based ESA.

“Ex­tra pay­ments, called pre­mi­ums, are avail­able only to qual­i­fy­ing peo­ple who are el­i­gi­ble for in­com­ere­lated ben­e­fits. Th­ese in­clude the En­hanced Dis­abil­ity, Se­vere Dis­abil­ity, Carer and Pensioner Pre­mi­ums.

“Largely be­tween Jan­uary 2011 and Oc­to­ber 2014 some peo­ple re­ceiv­ing In­ca­pac­ity Ben­e­fit and Se­vere Dis­able­ment Al­lowance had their claims con­verted to con­trib­u­tory ESA.

“How­ever, the pos­si­bil­ity of whether they may also have been en­ti­tled to in­com­ere­lated ESA was not con­sid­ered for all cases.

“This means they may have missed out on the pay­ment of pre­mi­ums, such as the En­hanced Dis­abil­ity Pre­mium.

“The DWP are re­view­ing all rel­e­vant claims to find out who was el­i­gi­ble for in­com­ere­lated ESA and to give them back­dated ar­rears for the ben­e­fit.”

The DWP orig­i­nally said they would only back­date ar­rears to Oc­to­ber 2014.

But, a ju­di­cial re­view re­quested in July 2018 has de­ter­mined that claimants should get pay­ments back­dated to when their ESA de­ci­sion was first made.

The DWP will con­tact el­i­gi­ble claimants to ask for in­for­ma­tion about their fi­nances at the time when they con­verted to ESA.

They’ll use this to check el­i­gi­bil­ity for back­dated ar­rears of in­come-re­lated ESA.

The Child Ac­tion Poverty Group, which mounted the lat­est le­gal chal­lenge to the gov­ern­ment, thinks that some­thing like 70,000 peo­ple may have been un­der­paid.

Th­ese un­der­pay­ments might amount to sev­eral thou­sands of pounds.

The DWP in­tends to con­tact all claimants by April 2019.

You can either wait to be con­tacted or ask the DWP to re­view the claim sooner.

Any lump sums awarded will be dis­re­garded as cap­i­tal un­der the nor­mal rules.

If you think you have been af­fected by this but are not awarded back­dated ar­rears to when their ESA de­ci­sion was made, you should re­quest a manda­tory re­con­sid­er­a­tion.

You can get help by con­tact­ing your lo­cal Cit­i­zens Ad­vice.

For in­for­ma­tion about ser­vices in Sal­ford go to www.sal­ford­cab.org.uk.

● Tom Togher

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