"Tens of thousands of people, most of whom have severely limiting disabilities and illnesses, have been underpaid by thousands of pounds each, while the department for several years failed to get a proper grip on the problem, "said Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office. "The department has now committed to fixing this error by April 2019, but not everyone will be repaid all the money they have missed out on."
The National Audit Office said the mistakes began as far back as 2011, that officials became aware of them in 2013 but only started properly to address the issue last year. The DWP says a court judgment means it has to backdate payments only until October 2014, a decision the National Audit Office says will mean up to £150m will not have to be reimbursed.
Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, hit out at the "shoddy administration" at the Department for Work and Pensions which left vulnerable people out of pocket.
"The NAO's report shows the Department for Work and Pensions was unacceptably slow to act on early signs something was wrong," she said.
Daphne Hall, who advises claimants on their welfare rights, said the DWP had clearly failed to follow its own guidance.
"As a result some of the most severely disabled people have lost out on thousands of pounds that they will never get back," she told the BBC.
We wonder if this tardiness by the State would have occurred if over-payment had been the case or if fraud by claimants was involved