TWO disabled men who claimed they were losing hundreds of pounds per month since they’ve moved onto Universal Credit were “unlawfully discriminated against”, a court ruled today.
The High Court was told the “significant” drop in monthly income was having “seriously detrimental impacts on their health and well-being” – and left one of them too poor to pay to travel for his chemo.
Alamy Universal Credit is being rolled out and replace benefits like job seekers allowance and child tax credits with one single payment
But the two men – one of whom is terminally ill with cancer – lost their case this morning which argued that Universal Credit was unlawful overall.
But the judge did say that the “implementing arrangements do at present give rise to an unlawful discrimination”.
They had lost around £178 per month each after having to move to the Universal Credit system – which replaced a range of means-tested welfare benefits with one single benefit.
The judge said that both were claiming cash payments for people who are severely disabled, and are “now in receipt of cash payments which, overall, are significantly lower than the amount previously received”.
PA:Press Association Universal Credit policy is one of the most controversial policies rolled out in recent years
The Department for Work and Pensions has said that no one who is moving on to Universal Credit should lose any money as a result.
The Government is expected to appeal the decision.
Both of the men live alone without carers, and say they can’t live a basic life anymore under the new benefits system.
Their lawyer Zoe Leventhal, told Mr Justice Lewis they “are no longer able to meet many of their basic needs”.
The two men whose cases are at the centre of the judicial review action against the Work and Pensions Secretary are referred to as TP and AR.
Cambridge graduate TP was in a high-flying city career but was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and Castleman’s disease at the age of 51 – and became unable to work.
He was forced to move onto Universal Credit and lost the Severe Disability Premium he had before.
TP said today: “I always believed that I had been treated unfairly and in a discriminatory manner by the DWP, having lost out in this move into Universal Credit. I am delighted that the Courts have concurred that I have been unlawfully discriminated against”
And AR, the second claimant added: “I know it is a time of austerity but I do not understand why the Government are trying to penny-pinch with what is a relatively small and very vulnerable group, namely, severely disabled people without a carer.
“I thought we lived in a society where as a vulnerable group we would be protected not unlawfully discriminated against.”
Rex Features Esther McVey announced the rule changes last week Fibromyalgia sufferer, 29, abused by driver for parking in disabled bay despite having blue badge
Last week the Work and Pensions Secretary said that thousands of Brits who had moved onto Universal Credit would get more cash after a shake-up of the rules.
Ministers have admitted that too many people are losing money when they switch to the new benefits regime.
So they have softened the rules – meaning claimants will get more support to ensure they don’t lose out.
Those affected by the rule tweak will include working parents, the disabled and jobseekers who find work but lose it again.