An investigation into DWP’s handling of migration to Employment and Support Allowance

Ms U complained that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) failed to pay her Employment and Support Allowance benefits payments over a five-year period due to an administrative error, and denied her the opportunity to claim compensation for its mistake.

She said this caused her extreme financial hardship because she was unable to access related benefits, such as funding to help warm her home. This had a severe effect on her existing mental and physical health problems.

According to DWP’s figures, at least 118,000 other people were also affected by this error and have since been paid arrears, but cannot claim compensation.

We upheld this complaint. We found that the DWP’s decision to not offer compensation to those affected was inconsistent with its own Principles for Remedy guidance. DWP’s failure to act in line with its own guidance was maladministration. As this error had a significant impact on Ms U’s health and wellbeing, we found that DWP’s maladministration has caused her an unremedied injustice.

You can read the full report here or download a PDF (577 KB).