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ESA complants

JamesBrown588JamesBrown588 Posts: 2Member Listener
I have been trying to get the complaints department to deal with me for more then 6 weeks now but had no responce. I have an open complant with them going back to last summer and was corresponding with someone via email but nothing since early Feb.

I was without benefits for 15 weeks over 2 periods due to mistake by the benefits centre sending my letters to a random address. I got the money back but spent ove £100 on the phone trying to fix it and incurred £100's more in bank charges for going so over drawn. The stress of all this ended up sending me to hospital and I have still not recovered as more screw ups keep happeningand setting me back.

They agreed to reimburse me for the phone costs and bank charges and talk about compesation through basically ignored the data protaction breatch, that and a load of other stuff to add to this complaint but thats for latter.

So here I am 8 months latter no money and still racking up bank charges and I cannot get hold of the complaints department. I have sent emails and left call back requests with the 0845 number, the benefit center its self and through the job centre. Also I am not allowed to start a new complaint about this problem as my old one is still open

My main point is can anyone suggest who I try and speak to next who can put some pressure complaints department?

Replies

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,677Member Pioneering
    Hi James,
    I suggest that because of the delay in dealing with your complaint, and the difficulty in getting through to anyone, you state in your next communication that you want your complaint to go straight to a complaints resolution manager, or if it is already at that stage, to a senior manager asking for an independent internal review of your complaint.

    The 0845 number has been replaced with an 0345 number now, so that could make it slightly cheaper for you: it's 0345 608 8545 for ESA complaints.

    In my experience the DWP are not good at all at dealing with claimant emails, so if you are still having problems getting through, I'd suggest a hard copy letter in the post (sent recorded delivery if you can - this of course will add to your costs in the final resolution of your complaint).

    It sounds as if the DWP have addressed some of your concerns (by agreeing to reimburse you for some of your costs), but that your complaint has progressed since then and that they haven't actually paid you. What I would suggest is that if you continue to get no response from them, you go to the Independent Case Examiner (or ICE - details are here).  Though they normally require you to exhaust the DWP's complaint's procedure, obviously you can't do this if the DWP don't respond to you!

    Another option with complaints is to approach your MP and ask for their help. Although you are expected to use the DWP complaints procedure and ICE before approaching the Parliamentary Ombudsman, often an MP's surgery can get things sorted without needing to go to the Ombudsman, and it takes some of the administrative burden from you. 

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • JamesBrown588JamesBrown588 Posts: 2Member Listener

    Thanks for the advice  Will. I have spoken to the 0345 number today and been told that all they can do is send another email asking the benefit centre to call me back again. Lucky try number 5.


    Also while I have someone to ask I have been on the ESA assessment rate for nearly 17 weeks with no letters from them since mid Jan. When I first signed up with ESA I was told my claim would be up to 13 weeks so is this sort of delay normal?
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,677Member Pioneering
    Hi JamesBrown588,

    Fingers crossed whoever said they would send the email really did so and you'll hear from the benefit centre soon. But if you don't get anywhere, you may have no choice but to bypass the DWP's complaints procedure as suggested.

    About your wait on the assessment rate. I'm afraid 17 weeks is completely normal - I have had clients wait a lot longer than that for their medical. You could complain about this of course, but at this point in time I think it would be a bit soon to do so. Once you have the medical (called the Work Capability Assessment) assuming that you 'pass' and are told you have limited capability for work, you will get arrears (back payments) of the extra ESA you are owed, going back to the 13 week point.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
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