Claimants who were underpaid employment and support allowance (ESA) when they were transferred from incapacity benefit may be owed money by their local council as well as by the DWP.
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 has been working its way through 600,000 cases to decide which claimants are owed money.
So far, with the process almost completed, 112,000 claimants have been given arrears payments averaging £5,000 each.
However, the Guardian has reported that many claimants may also have had to pay too much to their local council towards their personal care.
This is likely to happen when councils take into account whether a claimant is receiving premiums, such as the enhanced disability premium, when calculating a claimant’s minimum income guarantee. Claimants with premiums have their minimum income guarantee set at a higher level and thus have to contribute less of their benefits towards their personal care.
Enfield Council has sent letters to around 200 residents who it believes may have been overcharged for care as a result of the DWP’s error.
However, many other councils are either unaware of the issue or are reluctant to take any action to put money back in claimants’ pockets.