Judge agrees £20 uplift was to prevent newly unemployed becoming dependent on welfare, not to reduce hardship

The Court of Appeal has found in favour of the DWP and held that their failure to give legacy benefits claimants the same £20 uplift that was given to universal credit (UC) claimants during the pandemic was lawful.  Shockingly the judge agreed with the DWP that the uplift was needed to prevent newly unemployed people developing ‘dependence on welfare’ rather than to protect claimants from hardship.

In February 2022 four claimants 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.

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 High Court 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 Court of Appeal ruled today that they could find no fault in the High Court judge’s decision.

In particular, the Court of Appeal judges accepted the DWP’s claim that the £20 uplift was not intended to alleviate hardship, but to reduce the financial shock to the newly unemployed and prevent them becoming dependent on benefits in the long-term.

The court accepted that the uplift was paid   “in recognition of the fact that sudden, short-term unemployment can trigger social and health problems, leading to dependence on welfare, and hampering a return to employment.”

The court went on to find that:

“The uplift was not targeted at alleviating hardship as a result of increased costs during the pandemic. It was targeted at alleviating a particular type of financial disruption, namely that experienced by those who had lost or were at risk of losing employment or significant income, and who as a result were making new claims for social security benefits for the first time having previously been financially self-sufficient.”

Legacy benefits claimants were not a priority for help because they were:

“ . . . either not in the labour market at all by virtue of their disabilities, or only to a limited extent. That does not mean they were not a deserving group, and they were undoubtedly vulnerable. Nonetheless, a hard choice was made to prioritise those in the labour market but who it was anticipated would quickly become unemployed as a direct consequence of the pandemic and the lockdown measures that followed, and do so in large numbers.”

It is not known yet whether the claimants will attempt a further appeal to the Supreme Court.

You can read the full decision here

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Lil · 7 months ago
    I was moved onto UC from legacy benefits as some else was using my national insurance number, this was sorted out but I shouldn't have moved across. Is there anything II can do?
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    Scooter · 1 years ago
    This decision is bollocks and a total mock up. It needs to be appealed at The Supreme Court!
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    Wendy · 1 years ago
    Please can anyone tell me that the now seem to be going to award £3000 back money to universal credit claiments who were transfered from utility benefits to UC , but they will now award what we lost of the £20 weekly award during the lockdown covid time , and even when half of the original amount missed they still found in favour of DWP. Think this needs some more looking into and appealing again , as so wrong.
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    Tim Bain · 1 years ago
    If you were moved onto UC or not is not up to you, some were transferred, others in the same situation were not, that is the govt speed of rollout. This is the only difference, and it IS the government creating the difference not the claimant or their circumstances. 
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    Mohammed · 1 years ago
    Just read a guardian article regarding claimants ( TP & AR ) being transferred to UC with SDP / EDP who were left financially short , have WON a case regarding this and awarded compensation with court blocking right of appeal for DWP. 

    They have ordered DWP to pay in full claimants being transferred so as they are NOT left at a disadvantage and vulnerable. 

    Some good 😊 news for disabled people who are receiving the above benefits and have not yet transferred to UC. 
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    sharon · 1 years ago
    please could any one tell me about esa contribution I don't even get the cold weather payments off £25 nor do I get help with the cost off living can't get budget loan I get pip top rate so I got £150 I can't understand any thing about this benefit any ones help I would love to here I get £235 every2 weeks
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      J · 1 years ago
      @sharon If your in the group where you can't work you will get a bit more. You will get a letter when due a cold weather payment but that's only when it's minus 1 or below for 7 days in a row. 
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    Andrew Coates · 1 years ago
    I'd just like to "Shoutout" for the claimants who brought the case in the first place, Whilst lots of us are disappointed it was always a David v Goliath battle and Goliath won. Pre covid and pre COL crisis i thought that actually "Disability" benefits were fair and many people will always moan, No you'll never be well off but on the whole it was enough to live on, Very different now though post covid and during COL crisis.
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    fred · 1 years ago
    So this decision   will save the government  about £2 billion quid? fancy that!
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    Ian f · 1 years ago
    There appears to no logic to the conclusion. This needs appealing. Yet again those that do not move onto the new UC willingly,  gets ignored.  They still have not provided a guarantee that we on legacy benefits do not have to go with out any money for the 5 weeks that it takes to prepare a new claim, when our benefits are already paid 5 weeks in arrears. Until we get that guarantee that we will a smooth transition to the new benefit, without financial disruption... no one I  their right mind will transfer unless they forced too. DWP already know this.
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    Betty · 1 years ago
    The judge is unreal what about the people thar didn't get it who suffer with mental health and disability issues we had to get used to been on benefits.
    I got told I couldn't work due to health issues put I had to get used to benefits so what's the difference. 
    I really hope the judge is never in this Position I wish I had my health mental and physical and could work. The Rules are unreal put everyone on uc got extra even the ones whi have been on it for yrs it's all wrong. 
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    Daz · 1 years ago
    Not a surprise decision it's been obvious they were going to come up with a loophole to get the decision. Funny thing is the reason giving has made it ten times worse because now another appeal can not fail due to the laughable reason they gave which can be picked up and spat all over by any lawyer with half a brain. Instantly appeal it, goverment are literally taking the piss on this one. 
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    Angel · 1 years ago
    How is that logical? Are you not more likely to ‘depend on welfare’ if you get more money 🤬
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Mick · 1 years ago
      @Angel This was my first thought before i read your comment. 
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    Susan Rankin · 1 years ago
    The rejection reason has never been mentioned before 
     I'm pretty sure the uplift was billed as pandemic  lock down support. 
    The government are as usual , making it up as they go along . 
    Surely proof of this unheard of excuse is needed ? 
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      Mick · 1 years ago
      @Susan Rankin Yes when it was announced surely there is some footage on what’s it was for. I’d eat my hat if it was said at the time to stop benefit dependency! At the time it was to help desperation people at desperate times, with 1000s dying.
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    Susan Morton · 1 years ago
    I really hope the claimants shall attempt another appeal. The rejection reason is crazy. People on UC got it whether they were new claimants or not! If my memory serves me correctly, did the DWP not state originally that we (legacy benefits claimants) did not receive it because we were not on the same system as UC claimants, and it would have been too difficult to process payments to us? Did they not also admit it was unfair to disabled claimants? Please correct me if I am wrong, it won’t be the first time. 
    I would love to have given my support at the court but I live in Scotland and could not afford to travel to London.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Carol Atkinson · 3 months ago
      @Susan Morton Was that the excuse, when sunak said they could only put the april rise in but not another rise in to the legacy system???? 
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    Jennifer. · 1 years ago
    Legally i do not understand. I hope they submit to the Supreme Court and keep fighting for what is inherently wrong with the rules and regulations of welfare benefits.
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    heather · 1 years ago
    This injustice needs to be taken further
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    Graham Pearson · 1 years ago
    I’m am not the least bit surprised by this decision, We are discriminated against at every turn, when DWP said that the Computer couldn’t handle the Uplift? I honestly laughed, I hope they will appeal at the Supreme Court!! 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Carol Atkinson · 3 months ago
      @Graham Pearson I worked for DWP incapacity benefits for 18 years and I have never heard that they can only update the rate once a year, etc. For everyone's information DWP got rid of me because I became disabled. The reason was my work wasn't up to standard when I was off sick!!! This is how DWP Treats it's own staff!!


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    irm · 1 years ago
    The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  This, matters.  If this reason was the primary reason why the DWP did or did not do something, it should have stated it at the time.  Then we’d know.  Finding a legal sliver of a path, that GETS THE RESULT YOU WANT but that is not in fact, the reason you had for acting in the first place, is not honourable, and lacks all integrity.  In other words, in effect, the DWP have said any old crud to avoid paying out so far, then their lawyer and this judge, set them up with a legally-plausible, but completely separate, argument that won in court on the day.  The truth, came here to die.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    SD · 1 years ago
    Considering how far the four claimants have gone, I can only hope they appeal this bogus decision. Take it to the Supreme Court. I applaud you all for your bravery and courage to stand up to the injustice. 
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    bobtehbuilder · 1 years ago
    appeal it please. this time from the beginning of when the payment was introduced, not the last few months and emphasize that the reason dwp gave was firstly that the computer system couldnt do it, only during the court case did they suddenly decide to say it was for those who recently lost their jobs and if there was any truth to that why did everyone else get it and not just the new claimants. the dwp should have been forced to prove themselves. the judges simply took their word for it with no evidence and the barrister didnt force any of these issues.
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