Common credit score ‘primary equity’ £20 uplift case given excessive courtroom go-ahead – Incapacity Information Service

The Supreme Court has given permission to two disabled activists to challenge the Department of Labor and Pensions (DWP) for failing to offer old benefit recipients the same £ 20 per week increase that is granted to those receiving universal credit.

The court will now determine whether the DWP has violated the European Convention on Human Rights by increasing the standard universal credit allowance by £ 20 per week at the start of the pandemic, but not increasing the 1.9 million employment and support allowance (ESA) rate ) Recipients in the same amount.

Applicants for unemployment benefits and income support were also excluded from the increase.

The two ESA beneficiaries contesting the decision believe that the DWP’s failure was discriminatory and unjustified.

They have requested that their case be heard within the next three months.

One of them, Philip Wayland from Essex, told the Disability News Service (DNS) that the case was about “basic fairness.”

He said: “The case is important to me because the sick and disabled community has been treated appallingly by many governments for far too long. That needs to change.

“It’s about basic fairness in the welfare system, especially during the pandemic, even though the amount people are likely to live on is completely insufficient at best.”

He added, “Of course the extra money would help me personally if the case were successful, but to be honest I was motivated to bring this case because I see the many people who are in a much worse position than me . “

Ken Butler, Social and Political Advisor for Disability Rights UK, said: “By limiting the £ 20 weekly increase to universal loans, the government has discriminated against the millions of people with disabilities for other benefits.

“The judicial review is good news and, if successful, will hopefully lead the way for the award and backdate of the £ 20 increase to all previous beneficiaries.”

In March, as part of the # 20More4All campaign, Disabled People Against Cuts delivered mailbags of testimonials from people with disabilities to DWP, the Treasury Department and 10 Downing Street, describing and calling for the financial struggles they faced during the pandemic The increase is to be extended to those who have already used old services.

Stephen Timms, Labor Chair of the Commons Committee on Work and Pensions, said: “We cannot see any reason why people should get into trouble simply because, through no fault of their own, they happen to be receiving older benefits.

“At a time when the cost of living, especially for disabled people and carers, has been higher than ever, the government’s approach has undoubtedly gotten many people into trouble.

“We will await the outcome of this legal challenge with interest.

“But it would be better if the government acted now to increase legacy benefits without forcing applicants to go through lengthy legal proceedings.”

William Ford, an attorney for Osbornes Law representing the two plaintiffs, said: “This injustice requires duly proven justification, especially as nearly two million disabled people are disproportionately affected by this decision and the pandemic in general.

“So far, the government has not given an objectively verifiable reason for treating people differently in essentially identical circumstances.”

A DWP spokesman said in a statement: “It has always been the case that applicants for legacy benefits can claim universal credit if they believe they are better off.”

In the meantime, ministers have again refused to publish a DWP analysis showing how many disabled people would benefit from switching to Universal Credit (UC).

The request was made in a written parliamentary question by Labor MP Debbie Abrahams.

Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Disabled People, did not submit the analysis, but suggested that a new analysis “comparing the benefit entitlements of UC applicants and previous applicants” be released “in due course”.

It is not clear if this will be the same analysis that Abrahams was looking for and if it will show how many disabled people will lose and how many they will gain in moving to UC.

Ministers have repeatedly claimed that around 1 million disabled households will be eligible for UC higher than the previous “Legacy” benefit system.

But every time they repeat that number, they have no way of telling how many disabled households are likely to receive a lower UC entitlement.

The DWP has informed the Bureau of Statistics Regulation that the one million households figure comes from “internal analysis carried out to examine the impact of a proposed policy change”.

DWP claims that this analysis “did not estimate how many people would lose if they switched to universal credit,” only those who would win.

Although DWP admits the existence of this analysis, it has refused to publish it.

DNA was even rated “annoying” for trying to save a copy of the analysis.

The latest DWP Impact Assessment on Equality, published almost a decade ago in November 2011, found that the number of disabled households benefiting financially from universal credit was at least equal to the number of losses (with around 800,000 households in each group). disabled people who are unemployed are particularly likely to lose.

A DWP spokesperson said, “We have nothing more to add to the answer that was published last week.”

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