Letter to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions about income related ESA

NAWRA members have identified many former Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance claimants who have been migrated to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and only been awarded contributory ESA.  This is because the Department for Work and Pensions have failed to apply the regulations and their own guidance and undertake a financial assessment to check entitlement to any top up of Income Related ESA.

In July 2017, we wrote to the secretary of state for work and pensions, David Gauke MP to raise our concerns.

Update 10 Oct 2017: We have received a letter from David Gauke, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.  He confirms that officials are currently investigating this matter and will be in contact once they have completed this work.

Update 14 Dec 2017: David Gauke made a written statement  acknowledging the government’s error.

Update 9 Jan 2018: Esther McVey has been appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in a cabinet reshuffle. We have written to her to follow up this matter.

Update 23 Jan 2018: We have received a reply from Esther McVey.

Update 9 Feb 2018:  NAWRA has replied to point out that section 27 of the Social Security Act 1998 does not apply in this situation.

Update 15 May 2018:  NAWRA has received a letter from Esther McVey about the DWP limited backdating after the error in migrating people from incapacity benefit to ESA. They are now quoting the decision in CSE/33/2017 – which is available from the rightsnet discussion forum which agreed with applying s27 of the Social Security Act 1998 (the test case rule) (which NAWRA disputes).

Leave to appeal in this decision is being applied for and hopefully the judicial review launched by CPAG will clarify the situation.

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IB to ESA migration – NAWRA’s report to the Public Accounts Committee

NAWRA has submitted a response to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into the errors made when incapacity benefit claimants who were migrated over to contributory ESA (cESA) were not assessed for income-related ESA (irESA).

A big thank you to all those who took the time to respond to the survey in the very short timescale allowed.

NAWRA has also been invited to give oral evidence to the Committee on Monday 21 May.

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NAWRA conference in Nottingham 1 June 2018

Our quarterly meetings are held around the UK and include keynote speakers, workshops and a range of networking and professional development opportunities.

Here are details of the next NAWRA meeting:

Date: Friday 1 June 2018
Time: 10am – 4pm (registration from 9.30am)
Location: Nottingham Law School, Chaucer Building, Goldsmith Street, Nottingham NG1 5LP

The meeting is kindly hosted by Nottingham Law School Legal Advice Centre and Advice Nottingham. Our guest speakers will be Dr Tom Vickers of Nottingham Trent University, Tessa Gregory (Leigh Day Solicitors) and Elizabeth Davey (Equality and Human Rights Commission). There will be workshops on PIP caselaw, finanical resiliance and CPAG’s new Upper Tribunal Assistance Project.

Download the full agenda along with information about travel, accommodation and our social evening.

NAWRA meetings are free for members to attend. There is no need to book a place.  If your organisation is not already a NAWRA member then join here.

Please get in touch with any questions.

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Challenging discrimination in welfare benefits

The Equality and Diversity Forum have launched an online handbook to help advisers, and advice services more widely, to identify and challenge potential discrimination within the benefits system.

The handbook includes a range of tools and practical help to make it easier for advisers to recognise discrimination issues and to help services to build equality rights into advice delivery.  It is an essential resource for everyone working in welfare rights.

Currently in beta form, the handbook can be accessed and downloaded at www.edf.org.uk/practicalequality.  The full version will be released within the next few weeks.

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