The High Court has ruled against four claimants who brought a claim against the DWP for failing to give them the same £20 uplift that was given to universal credit (UC) claimants during the pandemic.
Between March 2020 and October 2021, the standard allowance element of UC was increased by £20 a week to support claimants during the pandemic.
However, claimants of legacy benefits, such as ESA and JSA were not given a similar increase.
The four legacy benefits claimants argued that the failure to give them the same uplift was discriminatory.
The High Court accepted that there were a greater proportion of disabled people on legacy benefits and that disabled claimants on legacy benefits were in the same position as disabled claimants on UC.
However, the judge held that the difference in treatment was justified because the DWP said it was done with the intention of providing additional support to people who had lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic and were forced to claim UC for the first time.
The judge accepted this in spite of the fact that all UC claimant, not just those who had recently lost their jobs, were given the uplift.
The judge also refused to be swayed by evidence that claimants who have recently lost their jobs tend to have higher rates of savings and were better able to meet the additional costs of the pandemic.
The judge also accepted that claimants of legacy benefits have a very low level of income and must have experienced additional hardships due to the pandemic, but did not consider that this was relevant to the decision.
The claimants legal team is considering whether there are grounds for an appeal.
Full story on the Osborne Law website.