In Parliament this week I sought urgent clarification from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) following the news that up to 180,000 people were underpaid Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
Errors were made when calculating the benefit entitlement of those moving from Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disability Allowance to ESA between 2011 and 2014. An additional £1.67 billion in total is expected to be paid out to the affected claimants. Additional payments to individual claimants are expected to be an average of £5,000 by 2020.
Speaking during an Urgent Question on the issue in the House of Commons, I asked ministers to confirm whether the repayment of any arrears would impact the payment of any additional benefits claimants may be in receipt of.
I’m pleased that the Minister was able to confirm that any repayment will not impact other benefit payments which Newport East constituents may be receiving. The scale of the amounts of money which ill and disabled people have not been paid is shocking and I am amazed at how long it has taken for the full extent of these errors to come to light.
Anybody who has been affected should be contacted by the DWP, with all backdated payments scheduled to be made by the end of 2019. If any Newport East constituents are unsure whether they’ve been affected by this error, I would urge them to contact the DWP to seek clarification. Please do get in touch with my office should you get into any difficulty.