Millions of benefit claimants could be due £1,500 back pay – are you affected?
Mum says she has 'nothing left' without Universal Credit uplift
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Two million people on legacy benefits such as Income Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit were not entitled to the extra support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, the High Court granted two people claiming Employment Support Allowance the right to challenge whether this was legal.
Initially the court case was scheduled to take place at the High Court in September but it was then postponed.
It’s now due to be heard on November 17 and 18 according to those working on the case.
William Ford, solicitor for the claimants told BirminghamLive: “The case centres on a claim of unlawful discrimination between two groups, those on Universal Credit and those on legacy benefits.
“If the court finds in favour of that and makes a declaration, the [UK] Government has to go away and then decide how to rectify that.
“But the court can’t tell the DWP what to do so we have to wait and see.
“The hope would be that the [UK] Government comes up with some sort of package of support for those on legacy benefits.”
“This would likely be back payments if the UC [Universal Credit] uplift to standard allowance is not maintained beyond September.
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“But if it ends up being maintained for far longer, we are saying an equivalent of legacy benefits’ personal allowance should be uplifted too.
“Everyone will have experienced hardship in the pandemic and the difference in treatment is not justified.”
If the High Court agrees with Mr Ford then it could mean a back payment of £1500 for everyone affected not just those who are bringing the case.
Universal Credit was introduced in the Welfare Reform Act 2012 to bring six benefits under one scheme.
As it’s a gradual process not everyone would have had the chance to switch to Universal Credit yet.
In fact it’s estimated two million people are still receiving legacy benefits and will not have been offered extra COVID-19 support.
Those who may have been affected will include those on Income Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance.
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Meanwhile, claimants receiving Income Support, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit could also be affected by the outcome of the case.
A spokewsperson for Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said: “It has always been the case that claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit if they believe that they will be better off.”
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