A High Court challenge has been mounted against the failure to give a £20 uplift to claimants of legacy benefits, such as employment support allowance (ESA), in spite of the payment being given to universal credit (UC) claimants. Success could lead to payments of over £1,000 for almost two million ESA claimants.

At the start of the pandemic, the chancellor announced a £20 increase in the standard rate of UC to help claimants cope with the additional costs of the pandemic. This could include such things as face masks, hand sanitiser, home delivery charges and increased utility bills because of being at home continually.

However, claimants on exactly equivalent ‘legacy benefits’ such as ESA were not given the uplift because the DWP claimed that its IT system could not cope with the change.

The case is being brought by two ESA claimants in the support group.

They are arguing that the failure to treat them in the same way as UC claimants is discriminatory and unjustified.

There have been many objections to the discriminatory way the uplift has been applied, including by the chair of the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee who said:

“It’s simply not right for people to miss out on support just because they happen, through no fault of their own, to be claiming the ‘wrong’ kind of benefit.”

The claimants are being represented by Osborne’s solicitors. You can read the full story on their website.


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