Two million disabled people cut out of pandemic benefits uplift

Two million disabled people have been cut out of receiving the £20 weekly benefit uplift, after the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Department of Work and Pension’s (DWP) exclusion.

The Court of Appeal held that the £20 uplift given to universal credit claimants and not those on legacy benefits was lawful.

In November 2021, four legacy benefit claimants brought a case to the High Court to fight this discrimination, and the case went to the Court of Appeal after the High Court ruled against the claimants.

Whilst the Court accepted that there were a greater proportion of disabled people claiming legacy benefits than universal credit, it refused to rule that the exclusion was discriminatory.

The DWP justified it’s decision by claiming it was needed to prevent newly unemployed people developing ‘dependence on welfare’ rather than to protect claimants from hardship.

The Court accepted this despite the glaring contradiction that all universal credit claimants were given the uplift, not just those who had recently lost their jobs.

Fran Springfield, Co-Chair of Chronic Illness Inclusion commented:

“We are outraged and devastated at the ruling on the legacy benefits uplift case by the Court of Appeal. The outcome is an affront to disabled people, including those with chronic illness. Many of us were denied emergency financial support when we needed it the most, and this discrimination should not be left unchallenged. We offer our heartfelt solidarity to the claimants who sought to bring justice for many disabled people throughout the UK.”