Backstory is that client failed WCA (Dec 2017). Got a call telling him of this. He said he’d like to challenge the decision. As is usual, he was advised he needed to claim UC, which he duly did. WCA decision was appealed. Made claim for PIP later in Dec 2017, which was awarded at SRDL. ESA appeal subsequently allowed.
My issue is that had client been advised that he had the option to remain on ESA during appeal period, his award of PIP would have meant SDP being payable. Loss to client about £6,000
The DWP do not agree with me and neither does the ICE. So, do I proceed to Ombudsman?
ICE say it is not the role of DWP staff to advise on what benefits to claim (despite them telling him to claim UC) and that the decision letter would have pinpointed him to the Gov Website for info. Decision letter issued after he’s already claimed UC on their advice and client has learning disabilities and I do not believe the website would have dealt with the complexities of ESA appeal situations. DWP and ICE both suggest that, because UC payable (if you apply for an advance) more quickly that ESA post MR period they have done the client a favour!
In my opinion, the advice to claim UC was not wrong but it was incomplete. Client was not able to make an informed decision and, as a result, has lost out financially. Even if PIP and, therefore, SDP was not an issue, many clients may prefer to remain on ESA anyway.
All opinions welcome!