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Social Security Benefits

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 31st July 2018.

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Photo of Lord Touhig Lord Touhig Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Buscombe on 19 July, stating that "on underpayments, I should be clear that no one suffered a cash loss", what is their definition of a cash loss; what term a claimant should use to describe an underpayment; what is the difference between an underpayment, a payment in full and an overpayment; and whether they consider an overpayment to be a cash benefit to the recipient.

Photo of Baroness Buscombe Baroness Buscombe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

No-one suffered a cash loss when they were converted from incapacity benefits to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) because where the amount of ESA they were entitled to was lower than the previous incapacity benefit award, it was ‘topped up’ to match their previous award by a transitional addition.

We are unable to say whether someone has been underpaid on conversion from incapacity benefit to ESA and is due arrears of benefit until we have gathered the necessary financial information (by way of an ESA3 form) and reviewed their award.

Overpayments are when a claimant is paid more in benefit than they are entitled to. Underpayments are when a claimant is paid less than they are entitled to. The Department seeks to recover overpayments of benefit in accordance with the appropriate legislation.

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