Around 118,000 people with disabilities and health conditions had their benefits wrongly reduced when first moving to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) around a decade ago. This error was corrected by the DWP in issuing backdated payments, however, investigating the case of one of these people, Ms. U, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has now said that this group should be compensated for the impact this error had on their lives.
Anastasia Berry, Policy Manager at the MS Society and Policy Co-Chair of the DBC, says:
“The decision not to provide compensation for those affected by this latest blunder is yet another example of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) treating disabled people like second class citizens.
“The DWP should provide backdated payments, but this alone does nothing to address the devastating knock-on effects that disabled people, like Ms U, have endured as a result of the mistake. Ms U’s experience, like thousands of others, meant she could not afford to heat her home or buy food and missed out on other vital benefits such as free prescriptions.
“The DWP’s colossal mistake has had distressing long-term impacts on people’s physical and mental health, and we fully support the Ombudsman’s call for a compensation scheme.”