The DWP announced that some New Style Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants had been underpaid their benefits and the mistake mainly impacted people who inherited pensions from someone who had died and was claiming New Style JSA
Some benefit claimants may be due a payout worth up to £2,000 after a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) mistake.
The DWP has admitted that widowed people with an inherited pension who tried to claim New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) during the pandemic could be affected. In its guidance, the DWP said it treated income from pensions inherited as the same income as their other pensions.
This then affected the amount of New Style JSA someone could claim. The DWP said: “Income from other pensions can affect how much New Style JSA you get, income from pensions inherited from someone who has died does not affect New Style JSA claims.”
The DWP is currently reviewing claims made between March 19, 2019 to November 19, 2022 and is urging anyone affected to come forward. The DWP is also sending text messages or letters to anyone who might be affected. The exact number of people impacted has not been confirmed by the DWP.
You can claim New Style JSA if you are unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week, it is a fortnightly payment that can be claimed on its own or with Universal Credit. New Style JSA is a “contributory” benefit and you can only claim if you paid enough National Insurance. According to the DWP, this is usually in the two full tax years before the year you make a claim. You can only claim New Style JSA for six months and if you qualify for Universal Credit as well, the amount of JobSeekers you receive is also taken into consideration.
Steve Webb, former Pensions Minister and now a partner at LCP told This is Money that people who have good company pensions can significantly reduce and even “eliminate” their New Style JSA payments. Steve reiterated that this should only count if the pension is theirs and not an inherited one from a late spouse or partner.
Those affected by this DWP mistake could have missed out on up to 26 weeks of New Style JSA payments which, in 2020-21, sat at £74.70 a week – this equates to around £2,000. However, the first £50 per week of occupational pension income is ignored when JSA is assessed, so you would have to get more than this in inherited pension to claim.
Steve added: “In this case, the DWP has wrongly been penalising people for inherited pensions and this could have cost some people up to around £2,000. It is well worth anyone who made a claim and was turned down and who was receiving an inherited pension at the time to make inquiries to see if they are owed any money.”
According to DWP guidance, you may be owed cash if:
- You made a claim for New Style Jobseekers Allowance between 19 March 2020 and 19 November 2022
- You told us that you had income from a pension
- You had income from a pension inherited from someone who has died
If you think you might’ve been affected then you can write to the DWP. Without needing a stamp, you can send your query to – Benefit Centre, Freepost DWP BC 38. In your letter, you will need to include:
- Your National Insurance number
- Copies of your pension statements showing the pension is inherited and the amounts of pension paid for the dates of your New Style JSA claim
- The reference “PAN PEN”
- Your bank, building society or credit union account details (if they have changed since you claimed New Style JSA)
The DWP will look at your claim and see if you are due any payments, the benefits department will then write to you to let you know their decision. If you are due a payout, the money will be paid directly into the bank, building society, or credit union account where your New Style JSA was paid in – if your account has changed then it will be paid into the one stated on your claim form.
The DWP has been approached for comment.