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ESA overpayment - make sure you keep good records!
My disabled son is a student and applied for ESA in 2017, before starting his studies. (And
just to clarify, I have financial POA and am his DWP appointee for the time being, at his request.)
Because of the nature of his disability (complex CP, wheelchair, no speech etc) he satisfied the criteria for the capacity to work element and so was put in the support group and given an award.
This could all get a bit long and complicated so to cut to the chase, I made sure i sent them any changes in savings and student loan info (cos of course they treat a student LOAN as income!!) and updated it when he went back this September. And kept copies and dates of when I sent things!
Got a letter in December (dated August!) asking about the details of his course and when he had first started it! So I wrote back giving dates and details of everything I had sent them previously plus copies (again) of any relevant letters.
Then I noticed from his bank account that he had not had any ESA money since mid-December!
And the long and the short of it, after waiting 43 minutes to speak to someone, is that all the paperwork I sent in, over almost 18 months, was never actually forwarded to the decision makers and so they had suspended his award on 11th December (with no notfication to him)
At first the woman on the phone was trying to say that they were still waiting for info from me but once I started to give her dates and so on, magically it all seemed to appear in the file!
So it was sent to the "decision makers" and a day later I got a phone call saying that because they had not processed any of the paperwork we sent, he has been being overpayed for over a year and so now will only get 18p per week!
- He'll get more in the summer holiday as it is not covered by the student loan!
She admitted it was their error and so it will be marked as such...but for goodness sake!
If i had not been able to supply dates and copy letters etc I dread to think what might have happened. As it is i do not know exactly how they have worked this out so will have to wait and see what their letter (that I am assured we will get) actually says and at that point will have to decide whether to challenge it.
Student loan has a "Special Support Element" for disabled students which is calculated goodness knows how but it is an amount that is discounted by DWP for benefits purposes. My son gets £190, out of a loan of over £6000...
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