Universal Credit win on severe disability premiums and disabled child addition

A multiracial crowd of supporters outside the High Court holding placards and a grey banner headed Deaths due to sanctions and benefit cuts -- with a list of names.
Supporters of the disabled claimants at the High Court when the legal challenge started

Disabled claimants forced to move onto Universal Credit have won their legal challenge against loss of the full severe disability premium amount again, and also disabled child element.

The solicitors Leigh Day said:

In a scathing judgment handed down [on 21 January], the DWP is found to have discriminated against [the claimants TP and AR] when it didn’t compensate them the full circa £180 a month difference in the payments they received on legacy benefits and the payments they received on UC when they moved into an area where UC had already been rolled out.

According to the DWP, in evidence it gave to the court when defending the judicial review claim, the ruling will affect up to 50,000 people and will involve sums of up to £150 million over a six-year period to put right.

A disabled mother, called AB, and one of her children, joined the legal challenge, represented by Southwark Law Centre. She and each member of her family suffered a benefit cut from moving to Universal Credit. As well as the parents losing disability premiums, this is because the disabled child addition in Universal Credit is less than the lower disabled child element in Child Tax Credits, for children with moderate disabilities.

She said:

“I am very relieved that the Judge has made a decision in our favour it shows that the DWP have treated us differently and unfairly over the Universal Credit payments.

So many people have struggled financially over this. I just hope now that the DWP will pay the allowance that is rightfully ours quickly. I hope all the disabled people who have been affected by this will reap the benefits of this court hearing.”

The court ruling is about people who were on ESA and Child Tax Credits before moving onto Universal Credit, called transitional protection, so we don’t lose out compared to before. People who were not on the previous benefits, don’t get any transitional protection, only the set Universal Credit amounts.

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