Benefit mix up leaves clients short on cash

Hundreds of severely disabled people could still be losing out
financially despite a national initiative to correct benefit
mishandling, claim welfare rights officers.

An investigation of local benefit offices by Lancashire County
Council’s welfare rights service has found big discrepancies in the
average amounts of money being paid out in arrears to those
identified by a Benefits Agency trawl last year.

Welfare advisers say the discrepancies could be attributed to
original mistakes made in assessing people for the benefit, or to
differences between offices in their interpretation of the trawl

Paul Burgess, principal welfare rights officer of Lancashire
County Council, said: ‘The problem is we cannot get to the bottom
of this as the Benefits Agency refuses to reveal what criteria it’s
using, so we cannot assess whether they are being observed properly
or whether they are open to different interpretations.’

But a Benefits Agency spokesperson said: ‘It is a national trawl
and adjudication officers are following the same instructions in
every region.’

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.