Millions of DWP benefit claimants could be eligible for £1,500 back payment if court appeal is successful
Around two million people on ‘legacy benefits’ missed out on a £20 Universal Credit uplift at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, sparking a court appeal
Millions of DWP benefits payment dates - when will I receive £10 festive bonus?">DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) benefit claimants could get £1,500 in back-dated payments - if a court appeal set to be heard in December is successful. The hearing is over the £20 increase in Universal Credit during the height of the pandemic, which wasn’t paid to people on ‘legacy’ benefits such as income support and tax credits.
The case will be heard by the Court of Appeal on either December 6 or 7 and has been brought by a legal team representing four claimants. If the appeal is successful, the four claimants involved could be entitled to more than £1,500 in back-dated pay from the DWP.
Universal Credit was introduced under the Welfare Reform Act 2012, bringing six benefits under a single scheme. But not everyone has been given the chance to switch to Universal Credit yet, and missed out on the £20 uplift and Covid-19 support as a result.
It means that if the appeal is successful, it could set a precedent for around two million people who still rely on income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit. The appeal was originally dismissed by the High Court in February before the Court of Appeal granted permission for the claimants to appeal again in August.
The four claimants claim that the difference in treatment between those in receipt of legacy benefits and Universal Credit is discriminatory and violates Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
William Ford KC, a solicitor from Osbornes Law who previously represented the four claimants, said: “The case centres on a claim of unlawful discrimination between two groups, those on Universal Credit and those on legacy benefits. If the court finds in favour of that and makes a declaration, the government has to go away and then decide how to rectify that.
“But the court can’t tell the DWP what to do, so we have to wait and see. The hope would be that the government comes up with some sort of package of support for those on legacy benefits.”
A DWP spokesperson said that people in receipt of legacy benefits ‘could make a claim’ for Universal Credit, if ‘they believe they will be better off’. Meanwhile, the second instalment of the £650 cost of living paymentis set to hit eight million bank accounts from tomorrow (Tuesday, November 8).