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Has your ESA been underpaid?

  • 27/02/2019

This article is over a year old

How can you find out?


Between 2011 and 2015, thousands of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants were underpaid.

The mistake was made during the process of moving people from incapacity benefit and severe disability allowance to ESA.

It affected people who were not considered for income-related ESA when they were switched to contributory ESA. Those impacted may have also missed out on other payments such as the enhanced disability premium.

How is it being fixed?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is in the process of reviewing around 570,000 ESA cases that may have been underpaid.

The number of DWP staff working on underpayments has tripled from 400 to 1,200 over recent months.

It is estimated that around 180,000 people are affected and each person underpaid could be due around £5,000.

In total, the Department are expected to pay out £970 million.

How do you know if you were underpaid?

Anyone affected will be directly contacted by the DWP and all backdated payments should be made by the end of 2019.

So far the DWP have paid back 18,000 people to the tune of £120 million, meaning average arrears is currently around £7,000 for each claimant.

If a claimant has since died any payment would be made to the next of kin.

Any payment over £5,000 will be disregarded for one year, before it could potentially impact future benefit entitlements.

Alison Taylor, Director of Operations at Turn2us, said:

“It is disappointing to see so many sick or disabled people fall through the crack and fail to get the support they have been entitled to.

"It is important that anyone that may have missed out on their full ESA entitlement is paid back promptly and efficiently by DWP.”

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