Investigation into errors in Employment and Support Allowance
26 March 2018
After an investigation by the National Audit Office it appears that since 2011, the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has underpaid an estimated 70,000 people who transferred to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from other benefits to people who may have been entitled to income-related ESA but were instead only awarded contribution-based ESA, and therefore may have missed out on premium payments.
Statistics show that the average underpayment could be around £5,000 per case.
The error happened because the department’s process for converting people’s benefits to ESA did not reflect its own legislation. DWP should have assessed people’s entitlement to both income-related ESA and contribution-based ESA on conversion and as the investigation shows this was not always the case.
The department has committed to correcting its error and paying arrears by April 2019.