Are you one of the 28,000 families with disabled children who lost money (up to £4,400 a year) because of tax credit errors?

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Families who are responsible for a disabled child or young person are eligible for a higher rate of child tax credit if the child is in receipt of a disability benefit such as disability living allowance (DLA) or personal independence payment (Pip).

Although it is technically the responsibility of the claimant to inform HMRC directly that they receive DLA or Pip for their child, in practice the tax authorities have tried to update the claim automatically using information supplied by the Department for Work and Pensions The non-payment of the tax credit premiums appears to have been a result of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) failing to inform HMRC about families? eligibility for the award over a three-year period.

The error in processing their claims meant an estimated 28,000 families whose children qualified for disability living allowance (DLA) during 2011-14 missed out on an additional tax credit premium of between £60 and £84 a week.

The government revealed in the autumn statement this week that it had set aside £360m over six years to ensure these families receive child disability tax credits in future. However, the payments will be backdated only to April, meaning individual families may have lost out on entitlements totalling up to £20,000 over the past five years.

The charity Contact a Family called for a compensation fund to be set up to help the families, saying it was not their fault that they lost out on what collectively amounted to tens of millions of pounds in entitlements.

?One thing is certain: this isn?t the fault of families. When you tick a box on a government form indicating you are in receipt of tax credits you reasonably expect it?s there for a reason ? and there?s a process in place that allows government departments to share this information,? said the charity?s head of policy and public affairs, Una Summerson.