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Disabled benefit claimants to get extra £1.7bn after underpayments

An extra £1.67bn is to be paid to tens of thousands of disabled benefit claimants after years of underpayments, the government has revealed.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was criticised for its handling of the employment and support allowance (ESA) after revealing that an estimated 180,000 recipients were due arrears payments totalling £970m.

The cost of paying them at a higher rate after their claims have been corrected is estimated to add another £700m over the next seven years, a DWP analysis released on Wednesday showed.

The arrears payments, which mainly cover a period between 2011 and 2014, are expected to average £5,000 and will be paid by the end of 2020.

In a written statement to MPs on Wednesday, the DWP minister Sarah Newton said £120m had already been paid out to this first group after 320,000 cases were analysed, with an average payment of £7,000.

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