More than 4,500 disabled people wrongly stripped of their benefits, DWP minister admits

Independent Rob Merrick

 

More than 4,500 disabled people were wrongly stripped of their benefits despite having a “good reason” for missing assessments, ministers have admitted.

The department of work and pensions (DWP) has now acknowledged the blunder – more than one year after a ruling that the disability living allowance (DLA) payments should not have been stopped.

“We expect around 4,600 people to gain as a result of this review exercise,” a statement to MPs says.

The admission was slipped out as MPs left Westminster for their Christmas break, as one of a dozen last-day announcements.

 

The latest mistake comes hard-on-the-heels of the DWP admitting to a £970m of underpayments to people switching to new incapacity benefitsbetween 2011 and 2014.

Today, the same statement acknowledged that only 1,000 people had been paid the arrears they are owed – a fraction of the 180,000 due to receive an average of £5,000.

 

Asked about the latest blunder, a DWP spokesman said the first payments would be made to some of the 4,600 people who have lost out in the New Year. However, many have not yet been identified.

It is understood that the department will argue it has taken 13 months to implement the ruling – made in November 2017 – because it needed time to put processes in place to find out who was affected.

 

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