The expected number of employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants who are due back payments because they were underpaid when they were transferred from incapacity benefit has fallen by over 40%, the DWP has revealed.
The underpayments came about because the DWP failed to award income-related ESA to many thousands of claimants who were transferred from incapacity benefit to contribution-based ESA from 2011 onwards
The DWP now estimates that only around 120,000 people will receive payments. This is down from the original estimate of 210,000, a fall of almost 43%.
The amount paid out will also be reduced from an estimated £920 million to £610 million.
The main reasons for the decrease in the number of awards, according to the DWP, are:
The actual levels of entitlement to arrears payments are lower than expected. The average award in arrears payments is estimated to be around £5,000
A high percentage of claimants are in the work-related activity group and not receiving awards of qualifying benefits such as PIP and so are not entitled to the relevant premiums.
The process of identifying claimants who may be entitled to a payment has almost been completed.
570,000 claimants who moved from incapacity benefit to ESA have now been contacted, with just 30,000 left to contact.