The claimants in the legacy benefits case which was lost in the High Court are continuing the fight by applying for permission to appeal the decision.

As we reported earlier this month, four legacy benefits claimants brought a case against the DWP claiming that excluding them from the £20 uplift given to universal credit claimants was discriminatory.

That case was lost in the High Court.  But the claimants have now applied for leave to appeal the decision.

This is the first step in the process of trying to get the decision looked at by the Court of Appeal.

The initial request for an appeal is likely to be refused by the High Court, who are unlikely to want to admit the possibility that their decision was wrong.

However, a request can then be lodged with the Court of Appeal itself, where there is a much better likelihood of the appeal being accepted and even won.

The claimants legal team will be aiming to show that the High Court made an error of law.

They may focus on the fact that the High Court accepted the DWP’s claim that its aim in giving the uplift was to compensate people who had recently lost their job and who would struggle to adjust to life on benefits.  It could be argued that this claim was fatally undermined by the fact that the uplift was given to everyone on UC, regardless of whether they had been in work recently or not.

The result of giving the uplift to  everyone was that disabled claimants on UC got the £20 uplift, but disabled claimants on legacy benefits who were in exactly the same position did not and were thus discriminated against. 

The High Court held that this was merely indirect discrimination. But the claimants may well want to argue that the discrimination was entirely deliberate, direct and unlawful. 

This would rest on the contention that the real reason for the uplift was that the government did not want millions of newly workless people to realise just how impossible it is to live on benefits, so they increased them temporary.  They could not limit the increase only to claimants who had lost their income during the pandemic without causing uproar amongst all other UC claimants, who were equally blameless for the position they found themselves in.  So they raised it for all UC claimants.  

But legacy benefits claimants could be safely discriminated against because they were fewer in number and unlikely to win the support of the media. 

In fact, originally the DWP said that the reason legacy benefits claimants were left out was simply because it was not possible to alter the aged legacy benefit software to give them the uplift.  It was purely an insurmountable technical problem, the DWP claimed at the time. The idea that the uplift was to protect newly unemployed claimants was only invented when legal action began and has never successfully fitted the facts of the case.

There are real grounds for hope that this appeal will be successful. However, it is likely to take months and, even if the claimants do win, the DWP will almost certainly try to get the decision overturned again by the Supreme Court.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress of the case. 

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Tecka · 3 months ago
    I completely agree with Tony and Jilly. I myself is disabled, having to leave work where I hade 42yrs of contributions and taxes paid, yet I was still treat like a scrounger from the DWP. It is 8yrs I’ve not been able to work and will never be able again, yet I have had to go through mandatory reconsideration then appeal for every renewal. I believe we are entitled or even more entitled to the extra £20 because I had to pay and possibly everyone who is disabled, for deliveries of everything I needed throughout the 2yr period. The whole setup is a disgrace!!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Tony · 4 months ago
    I believe we should all send letters to the DWP complaining we have been discriminated against.
    Even the judge agrees.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Elizabeth · 4 months ago
    Hmm pretty sure the  line of thinking  was that people who were forced onto UC during Covid were worthy and deserving. The long-term sick and disabled are lazy lie-abouts and a drain on society
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    Richard Booth · 4 months ago
    What you are seeing is no better than genocide
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    Greg · 4 months ago
    What a load of Boll**ks .  Surely someone who has been unemployed for Longer is  even more worse off than someone who has only just lost their job .   Also, I can't claim to be a computer Expert . However the Claim that they could not change the soft ware is UTTER BULL*HIT .  I have written Spreadsheets and Databases as part of my job, all you do is select the Field and change the Figures, simples.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Ali R · 5 months ago
    I am claiming  legacy benefit and I agree that we should've received it also as we are still paying our bills and we struggle normally yet we are still made to struggle more so. Why are disabled people forgotten about and shoved  under the carpet out of sight. Also in my assessment I scored 0 yet I need help with a minimum of three things yet scored 0. Using a sat nav is now classed as needing help in mobility yet it counts as you're able to travel from a-b without help. The new rules arent being adhered to 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    David · 5 months ago
    I read Theresa Coffee having said that if Legacy benefits claimants had switched to UC they would have received the £20. As a legacy benefit receiver, I was led to believe that doing the right thing would be to wait until invited by the DWP to make the change to UC.
    Not sure how long I will be around for under the evil Tories and whilst Theresa Coffee is having " the time of her life", as usual the vulnerable pay.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    David · 5 months ago
    Even if an appeal is won,this government will find another way to not pay this after all the disabled along with pensioners are expendable
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Dawn · 5 months ago
    Thank you so much from myself on one of those legacy benefits.
    From the bottom of my heart keep fighting until the v end we are all behind you x
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Catherine · 5 months ago
    As an ESA claimant in the support group, I am glad to hear that the four claimants are appealing. On behalf of myself and others, I wish to thank them for taking the DWP on and going through this process. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sandie · 5 months ago
    I'm on ESA and been doing  permitted work , but have not worked since covid lock down.

    So even though I have lost my job I'm not entitled because I'm on a legacy benefit,  how is that not discrimination. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Lee · 5 months ago
    Even if they win the government don't have to pay out and we all know how evil the Tories are.
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    alfie · 5 months ago
    Alfie, justice for the disabled unemployed through no fault of their own.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    steve · 5 months ago
    my wife receives UC benefit and received the uplift. However,  she hasn't worked for many years pre-covid. I get ESA but not entitled to the uplift. Also I am not allowed to transfer to UC because I am in the Support group

    The DWP, my game, my rules
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    jackie2701 · 5 months ago
    well it seems to me unless you claim UC then you don’t count why is it all the people on it continue to be given help when the likes of us disabled on legacy benefits don’t i am sick of hearing everything being given to them claimants and not us we all have the same bills to pay in some cases we have more !!!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    George222 · 5 months ago
    The need for an appeal is indicative of the corruption that is endemic in all institutions in the UK. The 'great and the good' can get away with anything; from the prime minister to the local goverment officer - the 'little people' are fair game and the estblishment will close ranks.

    In this case it's fairly obvious that justice had little bearing on the judgement. The principles of law or equity weren't the primary considerations here. The judge simply didn't think that the claiments were 'deserving' and tailored the facts to suit the outcome.

    I wish the claimants well. I fear they will be greeted with more of the same psuedo-engagement from the Court of Appeal.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    XPC-Chris · 5 months ago
    The DWP said that the reason legacy benefits claimants were left out was simply because it was not possible to alter the aged legacy benefit software to give them the uplift - What utter nonsense! The DWP increase my weekly ESA amount annually by a few pounds so using that same process they could increase my weekly ESA by an extra £20, ..it's not rocket science! I think the DWP have lost sight of what their job is all about. It seems they would rather waste tax payers money defending expensive court trials rather than pay out a few quid to those who wrongfully missed out. Shame on the DWP and shame on the British Government for allowing these bureaucratic losers to treat disabled claimants like second rate citizens! 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jilly · 5 months ago
    It might be me but was this ever mentioned in the news. By which I mean that it ONLY  applied to UC. Certainly when I spoke to people, they were astonished I hadn't got it ( same with Winter Fuel Allow TBF ).

    How can we get the public behind us if they've no idea ( sadly the court of public opinion is all any organisation seems to respond to these days and the DWP have done a good job trying to demonise the disabled )

    A lot of air time was given to the fact it was STOPPING and how those people would now struggle ( quite rightly ) but not that it never STARTED for some of us.

    Also, when they were trumpeting their  generosity, there was NEVER any mention of it being to help the "recently unemployed ONLY".

    What a load of hogwash !!!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Stephen. · 5 months ago
    I am sure the story about the out of date software is absolutely true.  I worked for the DWP for seven years !!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Bellatrix · 5 months ago
    How convenient that the judge who heard the case was none other than Mr. Justice Swift who just happens to be the former First Counsel to the Treasury! 

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