Date Published: 16.01.2023
Status: Past
Type: Co-ordination of Social Security
Outcome: Early case resolution
Last Updated: 17.05.2023

Disability Living Allowance

Summary of Information

The IMA received a complaint raising concerns at how a Certificate of Application (COA) may not have been taken into account when the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) assessed eligibility for Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The citizen concerned was a child. While this was an individual complaint, the correspondence suggested the potential for a wider issue.  The IMA sought to investigate the background to the complaint and raised the issue with the DWP through preliminary enquiries to ensure decisions on DLA are made correctly, in order that the rights of EU EEA and EFTA citizens are upheld when a COA was issued.

Summary of Actions and Evidence

On initial review of the complaint, there appeared on the face of it to be an error in the DWP’s decision to refuse DLA for an individual who had applied for EUSS and who held a valid CoA.

However, following discussion with the complainant and with the DWP, it was evident that the DWP’s decision was sound but the manner in which the decision was conveyed to the citizen (which included a number of typographical errors and reference to a Certificate of Application granted after the application was determined) was confusing and unhelpful, leading to the complaint being made to the IMA.

The IMA therefore considered an Early Case Resolution would be the most appropriate course of action, with a monitoring period to allow the DWP to undertake an internal Lessons Learned exercise to ensure the standard of public facing correspondence received in this particular case could not repeated in the future.

Summary of Decision

It is evident that whilst the original decision to refuse DLA was made on sound and legitimate grounds, the way that decision was conveyed to the citizen was confusing and unhelpful.

The DWP recognised this in correspondence with the IMA and have agreed to undertake a Lessons Learned exercise to understand:

  1. how those errors were made;
  2. how any Quality Assurance of the correspondence fell short of the required standard; and
  3. what processes and procedures DWP will put in place to ensure this standard of public facing correspondence is not repeated in the future.

This Lessons Learned exercise should be completed within 60 calendar days from the publication of this statement, and its findings and proposals submitted to the IMA for comment and consideration.

On the basis of the information available at this point in time, the IMA has determined that it does not have reasonable grounds to believe that an inquiry into this issue may identify general or systemic failings in the implementation or application of Part II of the WA.  Furthermore, the IMA does not consider that it would be proportionate and / or reasonable to continue to explore this issue further by way of Inquiry at this time.

The proposed Lessons Learned exercise agreed with DWP is relevant to the IMA’s statutory duty to promote the adequate and effective implementation and application in the United Kingdom of Part II of the WA/SA (Paragraph 23 of Schedule 2 to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020).

However, should the IMA receive any further information or complaints about this or related issues, these will be considered on their merits and in line with IMA’s internal processes.

Update of Monitoring and Compliance

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has completed its Lessons Learned exercise and identified that this was an isolated incident of internal processes not being followed. Steps have been taken to reiterate and reinforce these internal processes.

DWP is committed to ensuring that all their communications adhere to Departmental standards through the Quality Assurance Frameworks, which are underpinned by the Departmental Charter

Does this issue affect you?

The complaints submitted to us help build a picture of where there are common, wide-reaching, or systemic issues with how UK public bodies are implementing the Withdrawal Agreement(s) for EU and EEA EFTA citizens’ rights.