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TOPIC: Errors Plague The Benefits System – But If You're Seriously Ill, It's Even Worse

Errors Plague The Benefits System – But If You're Seriously Ill, It's Even Worse 10 Apr 2018 08:55 #6932

  • Paul-UB40
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'You just feel it’s almost like you’re scrounging.'

Gill Willis has received thousands of pounds from the DWP this year, but says there's been no explanation why.
One morning in January, Gill Willis checked her bank account. She had expected to see her usual income, but instead she found a huge chunk of cash had been paid in without any explanation.

At first, she was thrilled. It was only when Gill read in the news that thousands of people who claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) had been underpaid for years, that she started to make sense of things.

That’s because Gill’s £3,500 wasn’t a windfall, it was a rebate. After years of administration errors by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Gill was receiving money she should have had all along. “I would have been shot if I ever treated a client as I have been treated by the DWP,” the former financial analyst says.

The National Audit Office estimates as many as 70,000 claimants of ESA, which is available to people who have become too unwell to keep working, have been affected by miscalculations, a blunder that will cost the government hundreds of millions to rectify.

The errors related to people who may have been entitled to income-related ESA (which is not taxable, and means tested) but were instead only awarded contribution-based ESA (which is taxable and is not means tested), a potential difference of between £73 and £186 per week.

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