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Government U-turn on Disability Benefit Arrears

Government U-turn on Disability Benefit Arrears

The Independent reports that the government has announced it will pay back thousands of disability benefit claimants in full after “shoddy administration” meant up to 70,000 disabled people were underpaid.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced on Wednesday that arrears for sick and disabled people who lost out when their benefits were transferred to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) would be backdated to the date they moved to ESA.

Initially, the government said there would be up to £150m which might never be paid back because arrears would only be accounted for as far back as 21 October 2014, the date of a legal tribunal ruling .

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey (pictured) who, according to the Mirror, is known for her previous attempts to mislead Parliament about Universal Credit, said: “The Department has analysed the relationship between ‘official error’ and section 27 of the Social Security Act 1998 in regulating how and to what extent arrears can be paid. As a result of the conclusions of this analysis, we will now be paying arrears to those affected back to their date of conversion to ESA.

My department will be contacting all those identified as potentially affected as planned. Once an individual is contacted, and the relevant information gathered, they can expect to receive appropriate payment within 12 weeks” McVey explained.

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