ESAc and Transitional Provisions re deductions for pension payments: Alert

Client was on IB and then, in 2013, ESAc, receiving a pension but was protected from ESAc deductions as was on DLA HR care, moving to PIP Enh DL in 2018. She has always submitted a pension statement to DWP annually, but, this year received a letter:
“We have looked at your claim again following a recent change.. From 19th May 2021 your Employment and Support Allowance will be 58.11 a week.”
I gave her the ESA (TP) regulation and she called DWP several times over a number of days.  She emailed the outcome and asked that it be shared in case other similar ESA recipients are having such experiences.  She wrote:

” … To be honest the person I spoke to annoyed me.  He repeatedly focused on telling me not to worry about the overpaid benefits, as it was their error disregarding my pension in the first place and paying me in full all those years, but they had written off the debt, so I wouldn’t have to pay it back.

I explained that I believed the error was that my pension was no longer being disregarded as it should.  He didn’t seem to be listening, so I just ended the call saying I would call back after the three days.

I called on Wednesday, and the lady emailed the escalation department and said I would be called in 3-5 hours.

Then yesterday I still hadn’t heard, solid as they advised, called and spoke to a lovely lady, who mentioned that she was familiar with pension disregard for those previously on Incapacity Benefit with DLA moving to ESA and popped me on hold while she phoned the escalations department.

Literally half an hour later I received a call back from another lovely lady apologising that my benefit review had been processed incorrectly, on the wrong type of ESA. I should never had had deductions. They are going to amend my benefits and leave notes for future, about the my pension disregard. Also, the money owing to me from the deductions so far would be paid in the next few days.

I lost count of the number of times she said ‘sorry’.  Both for the error and the amount of time it took to get sorted. They have really been struggling to keep to the call back timings.

It’s such a relief, as it really did make me very anxious.”

Something to look out for perhaps?

And, for Daphne, another example of why the DWP need to retain their very best officers while ever they can!

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