Mandatory reconsideration rules deemed unlawful for ESA claimants – impact explained

Mandatory reconsideration is a process that can be followed if a benefit claimant disagrees with a decision they’ve been given for certain state benefits. Reconsiderations can be used for a wide range of benefits which can include ESA, Universal Credit and income support.

READ MORE

  • Child benefit warning: This letter from hmrc must be responded to

If a claimant disagrees with a decision about their benefits, they can ask for the decision to be looked again.

This request must be adhered to so long as any of the following apply:

  • The claimant thinks the office dealing with the claim has made an error or missed important evidence
  • The claimant disagrees with the reasons for the decision
  • The claimant simply wants to have the decision looked at again.

A recent ruling on mandatory reconsideration may have a dramatic effect on how the process is managed.

In a recent ruling detailed by the Royal Courts of Justice, it was found that an ESA claimant by the name of Michael Connor faced unlawful mandatory reconsideration practices.

In October 2018, Michael was informed that he no longer met the requirements to be eligible to receive ESA and as such, he asked for the decision to be revised.

This request was received by the Department for Work and Pensions on November 1 2018 but no decision was taken on the request until the following March.

DON’T MISS:
Tax warning: New rules could add a ‘significant burden’ to freelancers [WARNING]
Retirement warning: Your pension may be raided to cover COVID debt [INSIGHT]
Martin Lewis reveals if SEISS grants will be ‘clawed back’ by HMRC
 [EXPERT]

This, reportedly, meant that Michael had no right to claim ESA for around 18 weeks while the mandatory reconsideration was being reviewed, therefore limiting his income.

The court found that forcing a claimant to wait until an appeal is officially lodged before the ESA can be paid again is in breach of the rules.

As the judge ruled: “It is anomalous that the payment pending appeal arrangements for ESA under regulation 30(3) of the ESA Regulations do not extend to ESA claimants who are required by regulation 3ZA to request the Secretary of State to revise a decision and await her decision on that request before initiating an appeal.”

The ruling went into detail on how the legislation within the rules had a negative impact on this particular claimant’s experience.

READ MORE

  • Credit card: Cashback deals revealed but you must ‘act quickly’

The ruling was critical of particular elements of the bureaucracy involved: “After the hearing, the Secretary of State provided a further witness statement and exhibits from Ms Wilson, and further detailed written submissions.

“However, none of this further information provides the answer.”

The judge concluded his findings by declaring that the regulations concerning the appeal process are unlawful insofar that they are applied to ESA claimants engaging with mandatory reconsideration.

This could, in theory, result in future claimants not having limitations placed on them while their reconsiderations are being evaluated.

The court ruling is very detailed and wide ranging but full details can be found online.

ESA can be applied for by people who have a disability or health condition that affects how much they can work.

So long as the claimant is eligible, ESA will provide them with:

  • money to help with living costs if they’re unable to work
  • support to get back into work if they’re able to

To apply for ESA, claimants will need to head online and have their National Insurance number ready.

Additionally, other private details will be needed such as banking details, contact information for their doctors and details of the claimant’s income levels if they’re working.

Source: Read Full Article