DWP update as thousands of Britons could be entitled to back pay of £5,000 – are you?

Universal Credit: Will Quince fires warning over legacy benefits

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The DWP is responsible for a number of payments being issued to Britons right across the country. It is the Department’s responsibility to ensure everyone receives the amount to which they are entitled. And in this sense, the latest news from the Government is likely to be of interest to a number of people.

It relates to the payment of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), a key benefit, where it was found some individuals have not been given the correct amount.

While the vast majority of claims are correct, there are some where the situation is currently being rectified, and certain people could be entitled to back pay.

ESA was first introduced in October 2008 to help those with limited capability to work due to disability or illness.

From 2011 onwards, the DWP began to reassess those on incapacity benefits for eligibility for ESA.

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DWP update ESA

DWP update: Thousands of Britons could be entitled to back pay of £5,000 (Image: Getty)

It was found more than two million claimants were receiving incapacity benefits before reassessment began, and the Department has now reassessed approximately 1.5million people as of June 2021.

It has also corrected some past underpayments of ESA, which arose while reassessment took place. 

Thus far, the DWP has already paid out £613million worth of backpay to those who did not receive the right amount of benefit.

In total, 600,000 cases have been reviewed where claimants had been moved to ESA from other benefits.


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And it was found 118,000 of those claimants had been underpaid. 

However, there are still thousands of cases which remain open, where people are yet to come forward as it relates to this matter. 

As such, there may be individuals out there entitled to a payment they have not yet received.

The DWP has confirmed the “average arrears payment” is worth £5,000 – which could be significant for many.

dwp ESA universal credit

DWP: One form of ESA is being replaced by Universal Credit (Image: EXPRESS)

Government has also highlighted it has not been able to contact some individuals due to circumstances.

Its update explained: “For around 72,000 cases, including approximately 4,000 cases where the claimant had died, the individual or the next of kin did not provide the information needed to review the case.

“If people who have not responded do get in touch in future, their case will be actioned.”

As such, individuals are being encouraged to reach out to the DWP if they believe this is something which impacts them. 

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Those who believe they have been affected by ESA underpayments on conversion from previous incapacity benefits can call a designated number.

This has been shared as 0800 169 0310.

Employment and Support Allowance is split into two types.

The first is Contributory ESA, which is based on the National Insurance contributions a person makes – now known as New Style ESA.

The second, now no longer available, is income-related ESA, a means-tested benefit.

This is an older benefit which is now being phased out by the introduction of Universal Credit.

Roy Walsh

Roy Walsh

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