A disability and universal credit (UC) report produced by Disability Rights UK, Citizens Advice, and the Children’​s Society warns that tens of thousands of disabled children and adults will be worse off when UC is implemented in October next year. In her introduction to the report, Lady Grey-Thompson, a cross-bencher in the House of Lords writes that “​No group will be more affected than disabled people.”​

The report highlights the impact UC will have particularly on disabled children, on disabled people living alone, and disabled couples. Many families with disabled children will see their weekly entitlement to the disability element of Child Tax Credit (CTC) halved. The severe disability premium, currently £​58.20 a week, is being abolished under UC;​ and the report indicates that while couples in the support group of employment and support allowance (ESA) will gain from the changes, those in the support group who live alone and who do not have a carer will be worse off under UC.

The Guardian reports that Neil Coyle of Disability Rights UK said “​Some MPs have belatedly realised that, as they cheered the introduction of the universal credit and its benefit cap, they also voted through cuts for disabled people that particularly penalise disabled children, disabled people living alone without a carer and disabled couples. The universal credit will end the top-up pots of support for the most disadvantaged, like the severe disability premium. A third of disabled people already live in poverty in the UK and the cuts to be imposed under universal credit plans will penalise many thousands more.”​

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson confirmed that existing benefit claimants will be protected from the changes when they are moved on to UC to make sure they do not experience a drop in income. As the report by the charities points out though this will only apply if there have been no change of circumstances, and of course the changes will apply to all new claims.

A briefing and examples of how UC will impact on different groups can be found on the Citizens Advice website

People can also take part in a survey designed to help illustrate the impact UC will have on disabled children and adults.

A detailed report is also available from the Guardian


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