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Thread: IB-ESA error - Compensation?

  1. #1
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    West Cumbria (Lake District)

    IB-ESA error - Compensation?

    This is the DWP cock up that just won't lie down for them. (They think it's all over - no it's not).

    In a report published yesterday (12th January 2022).

    The Parlimentary and Health Service Ombudsman has called for compensation to be given to everyone who was affected by the IB-ESA migration error.

    (And for 'appropriate' interest to be paid on the backpayments already made).

    This compensation would be partly to make up for the other incidental losses that happened because those affected did not have the IR ESA award that they should have had.
    Losses such as free prescriptions/healthcare, passporting to full housing benefit, qualification for the Warm Home Discount, etc., etc.
    (my bolding)
    According to DWP’s figures, at least 118,000 other people were also affected by this error and have since been paid arrears, but cannot claim compensation.

    We upheld this complaint. We found that the DWP’s decision to not offer compensation to those affected was inconsistent with its own Principles for Remedy guidance. DWP’s failure to act in line with its own guidance was maladministration.
    From the report itself:
    3. We find that the DWP’s failure to
    act in line with its and our relevant
    guidance was maladministration, and
    that maladministration caused Ms U an
    unremedied injustice. We therefore uphold
    the complaint. We recommend that DWP:

    • write to Ms U to apologise for the
    impact of the failings on her

    • make a payment of £7,500 to
    compensate her for that impact

    • apply an appropriate rate of interest
    to the benefit arrears payment of

    4. As well, we recommend that DWP:

    • says what action it will take and when
    to remedy all those adversely affected
    by the migration to ESA who were not
    included in its Legal Entitlements and
    Administrative Practices (LEAP) exercise

    • reconsiders its decision to rule out
    compensating people included in the
    LEAP exercise in a way consistent with
    its own and our relevant guidance,
    including that it should provide remedies
    to others who have suffered injustice
    or hardship as a result of the same
    maladministration or poor service, where

    • reports to the Work and Pensions
    Select Committee (copied to the Public
    Administration and Constitutional Affairs
    and Public Accounts Select Committees)
    on its progress and what decisions it
    makes about how to remedy its failings.

    5. We also acknowledge that the matters
    complained of were distressing for Ms U
    and express our sympathy.
    It will be interesting to see if anything actually comes of this report.
    Last edited by nukecad; 13-01-22 at 11:48.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    West Cumbria (Lake District)
    Questions about this report and the arising compensation and interest issues have been asked in parliament:

    David Rutley the Minister for Welfare Delivery came under pressure.

    Sorry this is a bit long, but it's shorter than reading the Hansard record in full.

    From the first reply, which doesn't even address the question about compensation:
    The Department published an update on the exercise last Thursday on, which sets out further detail on the progress that it has made on processing the cases.
    There is nothing about the IB-ESA LEAP progress published by the DWP on last Thursday (6 Jan) or since.
    (or if there is then it is not in the place where it's usually published).

    From the second reply (after being prompted again about compensation):
    On the point about broader compensation, of course we only received the report this morning—it has only just been published—so we will consider it and review its recommendations, as is entirely right. We would also say that if people believe they should have further compensation and want to contact us at DWP, they can contact us through the various helplines that have been set up. There is a team working specifically on this broad issue, and if they prefer, they can go through the complaints process, so those avenues are available to those individuals. In these situations we are typically not compelled to come forward with compensation payments, but we will consider the wider points and the views put forward by the report.
    So although they say they will 'consider' the report they maintain that they are not 'compelled' to pay compensation.

    The question of interest on backpayments was then brought up, the reply:
    Obviously the primary responsibility is to respond to the report, and we will do that, but I—and, no doubt, the Secretary of State—will note the right hon. Member’s point, and will make appropriate responses to his Committee.
    No real answer then.

    There is then some debate about the alarming level of DWP errors and maladministration in general.

    Then another good question was asked:
    Why is the onus on individuals to come forward to the DWP? Why is he not being proactive in going out to the individuals who are affected?
    The (non) reply:
    We were very active in engaging in with the 118,000 people to make sure that their arrears were paid. As I said, if people still believe that arrears are owed or that they should receive further compensation, they can get in touch with the available helplines. We will, as I said, consider and review the report, which we received—as it was published—only today.
    So they might change their minds and expand the LEAP to consider compensation, and possibly interest on backpayments.

    The rest is more general stuff, but the last question includes:
    Will the Minister confirm a timescale in which those affected are likely to receive their compensation?
    The reply:
    The exercise to pay the arrears to the 118,000 people is complete. As of 1 June 2021, we have reviewed 600,000 cases. The 118,000 arrears payments were made to those who were eligible, and a total of £613 million has been paid. I will follow up on the hon. Gentleman’s other points.
    Overall you can sort of understand that they only got the report themselves yesterday (if they hadn't seen and advance copy before publication?) so haven't had time to formulate just how they are going to respond.

    But the non-commital answers given just make them look even worse than they already did.

    TBH I think they are scared that paying compensation, and interest on backpayments, for this LEAP will set a precedent for other errors and maladinistrations to also get compensation and interest as a right.

    They need to face that such compensation [i]should[/u] happen anyway, by their own rules. (Interest on backpayments is a bit more debateable).
    Last edited by nukecad; 14-01-22 at 02:05.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

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