JRF hails High Court bid to end discrimination against legacy benefit claimants

29 Apr 2021 02:06 PM

The High Court has granted claimants of Employment Support Allowance permission to challenge the Department for Work and Pensions’ decision not to increase their benefit in line with Universal Credit.

At the beginning of the pandemic the Chancellor announced a £20 increase to the standard allowance of Universal Credit, but this vital support was not extended to people on so called ‘legacy benefits’, the majority of whom are disabled, sick or carers. The claimants argue that this decision is discriminatory and unjustified.

The High Court has agreed it is arguably unlawful and will decide the case later this year.

Helen Barnard, Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, who have been campaigning on behalf of legacy benefit claimants as part of their campaign to keep the lifeline of the £20 increase in Universal Credit, said:

“It has been completely unjust to exclude people claiming legacy benefits from the £20 increase that was rightly made to Universal Credit over a year ago. Everyone should have access to a strong social security system that protects them from harm when they are struggling to stay afloat.

“Disabled people and carers already face a greater risk of poverty, so there can be no justification for offering them less support than people claiming Universal Credit simply because they are in a different part of the system.

“Discrimination has no place in our social security system and every day we fail to act undermines public trust and intensifies hardship. Ministers must right this injustice by urgently extending the £20 increase to legacy benefits.”

For more information, please read the legal team's full press statement.