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Decieved by DWP, now in terrible debt

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Lacroix123
Lacroix123 Community member Posts: 7 Listener
I was granted PIP in Nov 17 backdated to the date of my claim 1 July 17. High mobility and low care. I was granted it after my first medical assessment without having to appeal or provide any further info. 
I was turned down for ESA also in Nov following my medical assessment. I applied in April 2017. I have appealed and a tribunal agreed so am back on assessment rate. 
The problem I have is that I was under the impression that I was on IR ESA from the beginning of my claim because I received a letter from the DWP not long after I claimed stating that I did I qualify for ESA CB as I had not paid enough tax for the year in question. The letter stated that I may still receive benefits and would need to apply. Before I replied to this letter i recieved another one from the DWP stating they they would pay me ESA into my bank account from a certain date. It did not state IR or CB. I assumed it was IB. 
Once i was awarded PIP I called the DWP and asked for the disability premiums to be added to my ESA and also for it to be backdated to the date of my PIP award. They then told me that i had always been on CB ESA  and was not entitled to the premiums. I explained what had happened and was asked to put it in writing. I this and applied for IR at the same time. I was immediately changed to IR and SDP added to my weekly money. They ignored my letter about thinking I was on IR 
I again phoned and was more or less told that it was 'tough' and that I should of known I was on CB. I'm not happy about this and am going to write a formal letter of complaint. 
I am in so much debt now having had only £73pw to live on while having to pay £239 a month of my rent due to bedroom tax. I've borrowed from the bank, credit cards, family and friends
Does anyone have any advice for me please? 
Thank you so much  

Comments

  • AlexW_Scope
    AlexW_Scope Scope Posts: 224 Pioneering
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    If you have debt problems, try Step Change's free online debt help.

    If you’re struggling with your bills, get free, impartial and confidential debt advice now.

    Your priority outgoings are rent/mortgage, Council Tax, utility bills and court fines. You should pay these bills first. 

    If you are having difficulty with these, please call us free on 0808 800 3333 or email helpline@scope.org.uk

    Don’t avoid dealing with these issues as they will get worse if left. 

    Do not pay for debt advice

    Plenty of advice agencies offer free advice. Avoid payday lenders who charge excessive amounts of interest. Don’t consolidate your debts without getting advice about this first from your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau. You could also approach your local credit union and, in some areas, your local council.

    Emergency help

    If you have no money for essential bills, you can apply to your local council for welfare provision payments as a last resort.

    Problems with heating bills?

    See Scope’s information on helping with fuel costs to help reduce arrears or fuel bills.

  • Lacroix123
    Lacroix123 Community member Posts: 7 Listener
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    Thank you so much Alex x
  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Community member Posts: 2,621 Pioneering
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    Lacroix123Lacroix123

    Hi Lacroix, 

    If when you claimed ESA you supplied all the information that was needed to check both contributory and IR ESA, and you were entitled to some ir ESA once the SDP is included, then this is an official error, and you should ask for a revision. The DWP may say that it is too long ago to ask for a revision, but you should insist that you can ask for the decision to be changed at any time because it was an official error. You should insist on getting a decision from them (called a mandatory reconsideration notice) which I hope will change the decision, but if it doesn't, will give you the right to appeal to an independent tribunal about how far back the arrears of the SDP should go. 

    It shouldn't matter what you assumed you were on - some people get contributory topped up by income-related ESA, some get one without the other. But your claim for ESA was a claim for both types, so as long as you gave all the necessary information, you are due arrears of SDP. It's very important that you ask for the decision about the SDP to be looked at again, although of course, you should complain too as it sounds as if things were not explained well to you and your decision letters were not clear. 

    I think it would be worth having an overall benefit check done too, which you can do online (via the Scope site), or from an organisation such as Citizens Advice or a local disability information organisation (the Scope helpline can tell you if there is one near where you live). 

    You could also ask your local authority if you can have a discretionary housing payment to help with the bedroom tax, as well as following Alex's suggestions to help you with your debt generally. 

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:

  • Lacroix123
    Lacroix123 Community member Posts: 7 Listener
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    Thank you so much Will that's extremely helpful 
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