Category Archives: Disability

Energy costs: how will disabled people survive on the £150 payout from Liz Truss?

Disabled people face higher living costs than those of us who are able-bodied, but Liz Truss and her Tory government don’t care about that.

They have offered a pittance of £150 to cover the shocks disabled households are facing – and that was before they raised the energy price cap by more than that amount.

They say there are other methods of support – but people with disabilities are most likely to be receiving the Personal Independence Payment of up to £92 per week already.

Disabled people need extra money to cover their extra costs.

But Liz Truss claims her energy costs on expenses so she doesn’t understand.

Here’s a clip:

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Left behind by the cost of living: what about disabled people?

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign].

Applause to The Independent for highlighting the fact that, even among the vulnerable, there are those who are more likely to lose more during the cost of living/inflation/energy crisis: principally disabled people.

Here’s the relevant part of its editorial:

It will certainly be tough for many, particularly for larger and less-well-off families in larger, older properties; for the elderly, more at risk of hypothermia and less inclined to seek the help they are entitled to; and for a group of people who are too often neglected in so many areas: those with disabilities. Once again, they hardly figure in the national debate on the cost of living crisis. And once again, they are treated as an afterthought at best.

In the case of disabled people who are in receipt of social security, the outlook is bleaker than for most of their fellow citizens. In the first place, many have a lower income simply because they cannot work as easily as others, and society often fails to make the reasonable adjustments necessary to help them to get better-paid jobs.

Second, living with disabilities has always been expensive. There are often extra costs that must be met somehow, such as buying and running special equipment that requires electricity; transportation and mobility; the larger accommodation necessary to facilitate wheelchair use. So the cost of living crisis is already disproportionately affecting households that include a disabled person.

Under the January price cap as currently estimated, 1.4 million claimants will be presented with energy bills amounting to 132 per cent of their annual benefit. Families with a disabled child will face bills equivalent to 116 per cent of their disability living allowance. These figures also understate the impact of the energy price hikes on such households, because disabled people typically have higher-than-average energy needs.

It is morally wrong that those with disabilities, whose lives (and those of their families and friends) are already more difficult, should come off worst in this crisis… By definition, people with disabilities are the most vulnerable, and they should therefore be the first in line for exceptional help.

Absolutely right. So where is it?

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Disabled man says energy costs mean he’ll be dead next year. Tory response: get a job

Bring out your dead: is this the DWP plan for people with disabilities who can’t afford to pay the inflated energy bills the Tory government has foisted on us?

This is utterly disgusting.

Confronted with the story of a man with disabilities who said he expects to be dead by this time next year because he will not be able to afford the increased cost of energy, Tory Minister for Disabled people Chloe Smith said she hoped the Job Centre could help.

It’s the Tory answer to everything: “Get a job. Get a better job. Get an extra job.”

But – if you’re a person living with a disability – you can’t always do that.

And you know what happens then, in Tory Britain?

You die.

Here’s the clip:

Note Chloe Smith’s record on benefit-related votes in the House of Commons: she always voted to cut benefits.

So, for her, the answer to all your problems, if you can’t get a job, is clear:

You die.

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Cornwall’s biggest event discriminates against hidden disabilities – claim

What were the organisers of the Royal Cornwall Show thinking? “If it’s good enough for the government…”?

That must be the thought going through the heads of people with disabilities – and campaigners for them like This Writer – after hearing that the biggest show in Cornwall would only give a free carer ticket on the day to people in wheelchairs:

Marie Louisa Ralph, whose two sons are autistic and whose elder son Malachy also has Tourette’s Syndrome, accused the Royal Cornwall Show (RCS) of being in breach of equality laws and ignoring the needs of disabled people whose disability may not be as obvious as being in a wheelchair.

Marie said: “Wheelchairs are no proof of disability but RCS are effectively putting their own interpretation on what disability is. They haven’t got a clue. I’m a big believer in independence for disabled people, many of whom can work and are just as entitled as anyone else to access public event. They might just need a carer with them even if they’re not in a wheelchair.”

The show’s organisers seem to have claimed that Ms Ralph was mistaken and there was a concession for carers – if they pre-booked online. The deadline for that had passed and so the only concession available was if a disabled person arrived in a manual wheelchair.

They provided no rationale for this restriction.

Organisers also insisted that their scheme works well – and that it is a voluntary provision that they are not duty-bound to offer.

So disability discrimination is still considered to be perfectly acceptable at major public events, then?

Source: Royal Cornwall Show accused of hidden disability discrimination – Cornwall Live

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Government Wastes £440 Million Trying to Overturn Disability Benefit Claims | Beastrabban\’s Weblog

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign].

This is a classic rant from my brother The Beast – and so full of facts that not only do you need to read it, but you should send it to all your friends as well:

The Tories and Blairites – ’cause it was Blair who introduced the vile Work Capability Tests – are convinced and would like you to believe that a large portion of claims for disability benefit are fraudulent.

Thanks to right-wing rags like the Heil, the British public believes that 25% of all disability claims are fake. In fact… the overwhelming number of claims for disability benefits are genuine. Only a vanishingly small number, less than 1 per cent, are attempts to defraud the benefits system.

But obviously, this detracts from the Tory desire to punish the poor for not working or being able to work, while they could be gainfully exploited by all the rich industrialists they want to give massive tax cuts to.

And so we have suffered 40-odd years of Thatcherite cuts to the benefits system while Tory and Blairite mouthpieces have told us that such cuts are ‘self-help’, encouraging self-reliance, going to revive proper Christian charity and private initiative without the safety net of the state.

The principle of less eligibility – how the whole process of claiming state support was to be as unpleasant as possible in order to deter people from doing so – was one of [Thatcher’s] ‘Victorian Values’ that she wished to reintroduce into the welfare system.

So did Blair, who created the Work Capability Tests because of pseudoscientific, discredited research on behalf of US insurance fraudster Unum. This assumed that most disability claims were fake, and that getting people back into work would do them good.

The assumption that a certain percentage of all disability claims were fake has led, according to whistleblowers, to the imposition of quotas… which demand that a set percentage of disability claims should be turned down.

This has led to severely ill, even terminally so patients, being judged fit for work. It has led to moronic … clerks asking amputees when their absent limbs are expected to grow back. And it has led to hundreds, if not thousands of genuinely sick and disabled people dying from poverty and hunger because they were denied an income.

This included people with serious mental health problems and conditions like diabetes, who were found starved to death.

It’s been denounced by disability activists as a genocide. Harsh words, but this is mass murder by governments who know exactly what the consequences of these sanctions are. They just don’t want you to know.

Source: Government Wastes £440 Million Trying to Overturn Disability Benefit Claims | Beastrabban\’s Weblog

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People in Scotland with lifelong disabilities will no longer face benefit tests

Nicola Sturgeon: doing more for people with disabilities than Boris Johnson.

The UK’s Conservative government – particularly its prime minister – are first to disparage the Scottish National Party but fall behind that organisation in the implementation of policy.

The Tories have been promising to ditch benefit reassessments of people with lifelong conditions but look at this – the SNP got there first:

Disabled people in Scotland with serious lifelong conditions will no longer have to attend reassessments to continue receiving their benefits.

The Scottish government will begin taking over adult disability benefits from the UK government next week.

Currently, people with lifelong conditions such as being blind have to be reassessed to keep their benefits.

The Scottish government said it would have a more “compassionate” approach.

The pilot for the new payment will begin in Dundee, the Western Isles and Perth and Kinross from 21 March.

People already receiving Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions do not need to apply for the new payment from Social Security Scotland.

They will be automatically transferred on to the new system from the summer, the Scottish government’s social security minister Ben Macpherson said.

He said the new Adult Disability Payment would make a number of changes to assessment.

Mr Macpherson said: “If they have a disability or a long-term health condition that is unlikely to change, we are looking to provide indefinite awards, which means that people will not need to reapply for their benefit or be reviewed.”

Source: Lifelong Disabilities Will Not Face Benefit Tests | Same Difference

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Tory DWP is threatening to remove Motability car lifeline from severely disabled man

The DWP: where cruelty is written into the rules.

There’s new devilry afoot from the Department for Work and Pensions, as lawyers Leigh Day report:

A severely disabled man faces losing his lifeline Motability car in the latest blow he has suffered as a result of the enforcement of a benefits rule that he has just received permission to challenge in the courts.

Cameron Mitchell, aged 20, of Carlisle, has to return his Motability car by Thursday, 3 March despite the fact that he is wholly dependent on it for transport between his home, where he lives three days a week, and hospital where he stays for the rest of the week.

Cameron, through his mother and Deputy, Nicola Clulow, is challenging benefits regulations which put on hold Cameron’s Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Nicola’s Carer’s Allowance after he spent 28 days in hospital, even though he continued to require his parents’ care whilst in hospital.

This week Cameron was granted permission to go ahead with his judicial review of Regulations 29 and 30 of the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 which he argues are discriminatory and irrational. Cameron’s legal arguments will be presented in a High Court hearing later this year after the court agreed that his claim was ‘arguable’.

However, in the months since the legal challenge was launched, Cameron and Nicola have been struggling to deal with the consequences of the enforcement of the rule, the latest of which means the loss of the Motability car.

In December 2021, Cameron’s mum received letters asking her to repay overpayments of PIP and her Carer’s Allowance that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) had made while Cameron was in hospital from December 2020.

Leigh Day solicitor Carolin Ott wrote to the DWP asking them not to cut Cameron’s benefit package or claw back any overpayment until a decision had been made by the courts about his legal challenge to the 28-day rule and in response the DWP agreed to stop clawing back overpayments for at least six months.

However, the mobility element of Cameron’s PIP that had been paid to Motability for the car while Cameron was in hospital was still clawed back from Motability in late 2021 (even though the car was needed by his parents to continue caring for him while he was in hospital and later in hospice care). Motability say that without payment, the vehicle needs to now be returned.

Leigh Day has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pension’s lawyers again asking for the matter to be resolved urgently and has also written to Motability asking for an extension to allow the issue to be resolved by the DWP.

Nicola is deeply distressed by the prospect of losing the vehicle and can’t see how Cameron would be able to spend any time at home if the vehicle is taken away. Cameron has benefited from being able to receive care at home which is an important part of the transition to his full-time home care package. The loss of the Motability car would have a serious, detrimental impact on him and his family.

In his judicial review challenge of the lawfulness of the suspension of PIP and his mum’s Carer’s Allowance during his extended hospital stay, Cameron is arguing that the ‘hospitalisation rule’ breaches his rights because it directly discriminates against him (a person with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) requiring hospitalisation for a period of more than 28 days) as compared to those with PMLD who are hospitalised for less than 28 days.

He is also arguing that the ‘hospitalisation rule’ indirectly discriminates against those who have PMLD or treats those with PMLD the same as others when it should be treating them differently in recognition of their disability-related needs (which mean that they require care from ‘known carers’, people who know them and their needs whilst they are in hospital). He also argues that the rule is irrational because it cuts across the purpose of PIP.

Nicola Clulow said: “Cameron has been stuck living in intensive care first in Newcastle, then in Carlisle for almost 15 months now. Not because he’s ill but due to problems and delays in providing a home care package that can meet his complex special needs.

“He’s 20 years old and has had to spend days and nights for months watching very sick people who often don’t survive and despite his lack of communication it’s clear to everyone that he was switching off from the world, was depressed and just had no interest in life.

“Contact with the outside world and the ability to go home to be with family are crucial for him. To go out, and especially to go home Cameron requires a great deal of equipment to go with him and this would be impossible without his Motability car.

“Having been called on 21st February 2022 by Motability to say his vehicle must be returned on Thursday 3rd March was one of the most difficult and upsetting situations we have faced because it means that Cameron will once again have to simply stay looking at the four walls of the Intensive Care unit and not get home.”

Leigh Day solicitor Carolin Ott said: “We are very pleased that the court has granted our client permission for a judicial review of the hospitalisation rule which has suspended his PIP and his mother’s Carer’s Allowance, but are deeply concerned by the detrimental impact of the enforcement of the rule whilst Cameron awaits his day in court.

“Cameron is a young man with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) and like many others with PMLD is dependent on input from his known carers. In circumstances where the NHS alone can’t cover his care needs, his PIP should have never been suspended in the first place. The detrimental impact of that suspension, which on top of causing loss of income and stress is now also causing his family to lose his Motability car, is ongoing and we hope that it will be urgently addressed.”

Source: Cameron Mitchell can judicially review hospital-stay benefits rule but faces losing Motability car | Leigh Day

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Secret DWP benefits survey cherry-picks respondents – so it can lay blame on claimants?

Too much Coffey: the Work and Pensions Secretary (right) seems to have commissioned a survey of benefit claimants in order to say their failure to budget properly has put them into hardship – not her insistence on providing starvation-level payments and using the slightest excuse to cut them off. Meanwhile, she parties.

The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a secret survey – sent only to specially cherry-picked claimants.

The reason seems to be to blame benefit recipients for any hardship they suffer, claiming that poor budgeting skills are the root of the problem rather than the political decision to fix payments at starvation levels – and then to use the flimsiest excuses to stop them.

The survey asks about debts claimants may have, what effect the debts have had on them and what support they need. It is the last question that has raised concerns, as Benefits and Work, which hoisted the red flag on this apparent scam, pointed out:

The full question and list of options is as follows:

What types of help or support, if any, would be most useful in helping you manage your finances?

  • Help with working out what money I have left to spend each/day/week/month.
  • Advice on how to spread my spending so I don’t run out of money
  • Advice on how to reduce my spending
  • Advice on how to reduce my debt
  • Advice on how to increase my income
  • Help with setting up a direct debit/standing order
  • Help with opening a bank account
  • Other (specify)

In this context, advice to increase my income is most likely to relate to those in employment.  In general claimants cannot increase their income unless there is a benefit they could be claiming that they are not aware of.

What is entirely missing from these options are the ones that would actually make a difference to claimants, such as:

  • Pay benefits at a rate that is enough to live on
  • Remove the 5 week waiting time for UC
  • End the long delays for PIP assessments and WCAs

Because there are no such options, this survey will produce results that say that, of claimants who are in debt:

X% say they need advice on working out what money they have left to spend

X% say they need advice on how to reduce their spending

X% say they need advice on how to reduce their debt

Whilst some people may indeed say in the ‘Other’ box that the help they need is a higher rate of benefits, this will not be listed as a percentage in outcomes as everyone’s answers will be worded differently.

In other words, all the support needs will be around claimants not understanding how to manage their money, rather than it being impossible to manage on the money they receive.

See how it works?

Benefits and Work has made Freedom of Information requests to ask how the claimants taking part in this survey are selected, how many are taking part and whether the results of the report are going to be published.

The logical conclusion to be drawn is that the DWP has been stung by having to reveal the findings of its secret report on how people on sickness and disability benefits are struggling with unmet needs.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey had repeatedly refused to publish the DWP-commissioned report on disabled people’s experiences of the benefit system – so the Commons Work and Pensions Committee ordered its authors to provide a copy to Parliament. It has now been published.

The report, received by the government in September 2020, stated that many people are using disability benefits such as PIP, which is intended to meet the additional costs of disability, for very basic needs such as food, rent and paying debts:

“The participant had kidney failure, arthritis in his back, legs and arms, depression and bulimia which caused chronic stomach pains. He lived alone in a flat rented from a Housing Association, using Housing Benefit. He was in the ESA Support Group and received PIP. He made monthly repayments for utility bill arrears and had a £5,000 bank loan which he could not afford to repay. His debt repayments meant he could not afford essential day-to-day living needs and used a foodbank. He found it difficult to wash independently due to his arthritis and needed a walk-in shower but could not afford one and seemed unaware that he may be eligible for support through the local authority. He also needed support with cooking and cleaning and received help from a cousin. His cousin would like to claim Carer’s Allowance but neither of them knew how to make an application. He had no other support networks close by.”

It said claimants with invisible disabilities such as mental health conditions often struggle even more than those with physical conditions to meet their basic needs:

“Participants with mental health conditions tended to report a wide variety of basic needs, health and care needs and social needs that were unmet. In comparison, those with profound learning disabilities and severe physical disabilities were typically in the group that identified having fewer unmet needs. While the latter group experienced a high level of need across a range of areas, these were usually being met through a combination of local authority support and informal support networks, usually parents who provided a high level of care.”

And the wellbeing of disabled claimants often depends primarily on being in a household in which another member has a well-paid job:

“The participant has recently moved in with her mother and sister, she had previously lived alone in a council-rented flat but had begun to feel isolated and found paying the rent and bills difficult so decided to move in with her mother. She has a range of health conditions and disabilities including Asperger syndrome, anxiety, ADHD, joint stiffness and IBS. She works 28 hours a week and receives PIP. Before moving to live with her mother she was concerned about how her income would cover essential day-to-day living costs. She also struggled with maintaining her personal hygiene and found it difficult to leave the house as she did not like going out alone. Moving in with her mother has helped her to meet all of her health-related needs.”

The reason Coffey and the DWP kept the report secret seems clear when one notes that last October – more than a year after receiving it – the Work and Pensions Secretary was lying to the public about the system it damns.

As Benefits and Work (again) details:

Coffey was telling the Conservative party conference that:

“PIP has certainly grown in a way that was not anticipated when it was introduced.

“To give you an example, three out of four young people who claim PIP have their primary reason being mental ill health.

“That in itself is 189,000 young people who currently receive benefit focused on that. There may be other benefits they receive as well.

“. . . people can think the benefit system is fair.

“And I think by being able to target that even more so to people who really need that support, may improve that prospect of public perception.”

Having been forced to release a report that shows – even in its watered-down form – that the benefit system is forcing hardship and related physical and psychological torture on claimants, including those who already have significant mental health problems (leading to a threat to life itself?), it seems Coffey has commissioned this new survey in order to manufacture a false justification for herself.

I think I’ll write her a letter. Let’s see how she justifies this web of deceit.

Source: DWP secret survey set to blame claimants for going cold and hungry

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Another #DWP bid to deprive severely #disabled people of #benefits crushed by the courts

Therese Coffey: her Universal Credit rules discriminate against severely disabled people who she should be protecting. Rather than admit that it is wrong, she insists on wasting public money defending the indefensible in the courts.

Two severely disabled men have won a legal challenge after the Department of Work and Pensions’ (DWP) failed to provide enough in transitional payments to protect them and others as they moved to Universal Credit.

A High Court judge found that the DWP discriminated against the pair, known as TP and AR, by refusing to compensate them the full difference between the payments they received on legacy benefits and UC payments in an area where it had already been rolled out – around £180 per month.

The DWP gave evidence that a ruling like this will affect up to 50,000 people, it will cost up to £150 million and take six years to put right the underpayments.

The ruling is the fourth in favour of TP and AR, who began their legal campaign after they suffered a severe drop in income in 2016 and 2017 as a result of house moves to areas where UC was in operation. Previously they had each received Severe Disability Premium (SDP) and Enhanced Disability Premium (EDP).

Despite rulings in the High Court and Court of Appeal, the DWP refused to pay severely disabled people affected by the policy the full monthly loss they had suffered of around £180.

Instead it paid just £120 a month, compensating for the loss of SDP and not EDP.

The SDP Gateway was introduced in 2019 to prevent other severely disabled benefits claimants from being moved onto UC outside of a managed migration process until January 2021. Outside of that period, disabled people in receipt of both SDP and EDP who experience a so-called ‘trigger event’ (certain changes in circumstances), such as a move into a UC area, experienced a sudden severe loss of income. They are known as ‘SDP natural migrants’.

The judgment in this case represents the fourth time that the Court has given detailed consideration to claims under Article 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights alleging unlawful discrimination against severely disabled adults who ‘naturally’ migrated to Universal Credit.

Once again, the Court concluded that Therese Coffey, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions was unable to show an objective and reasonable justification for the different treatment of people in TP and AR’s position.

The Court found that the Secretary of State’s arguments and evidence were largely the same as in the earlier cases and, in spite of the outcome and detailed findings in the previous cases, her evidence on key points was very limited, too generic or otherwise inadequate.

The Secretary of State claimed that something significant had changed, but the Court repeatedly emphasised that the essential differences in treatment remained the same and that neither legislative changes nor temporary Covid-related support changed the analysis.

The court held that the Universal Credit regulations unlawfully discriminate against TP and AR by failing to cover the loss of EDP when providing transitional payments.

UC therefore treated them less favourably, without reasonable justification, than legacy benefit claimants entitled to SDP who did not experience a ‘trigger event’ compelling them to claim UC, and legacy benefit claimants entitled to UC who experienced a ‘trigger event’ on or after January 16, 2019, and before January 27, 2021 (the period in which the Gateway was in place).

Mr Justice Holgate found:

  • The Covid-19 uplift received by UC claimants during the pandemic does not undo or make up for the disadvantage caused by the failure to cover the loss of EDP.
  • The inclusion of relief for EDP would not overpay those of the 71,000 claimants who receive SDP but not EDP. Overpayment could be avoided if legislation provided for six fixed rates of payment rather than three. “The suggestion that transitional payments in respect of EDP could not be deliverable has simply not been made out,” he said.
  • The risk that a ruling in favour of TP and AR would trigger ‘piggyback’ (similar, other) claims was not realistic.
  • The Secretary of State had not shown a reasonable relationship of proportionality between her aim of curtailing public expenditure, and the decision not to provide any element of transitional relief against the loss of EDP.

According to the DWP, in evidence it gave to the court when defending the judicial review claim, the ruling will affect up to 50,000 people and will involve sums of up to £150 million over a six-year period to put right.

The ruling is the fourth in favour of TP and AR, who began their legal campaign after they suffered a severe drop in income when they were moved on to UC in 2016 and 2017 as a result of house moves to areas where UC was in operation. Previously they had each received Severe Disability Premium (SDP) and Enhanced Disability Premium (EDP).

Despite rulings in the High Court and Court of Appeal, the DWP still refused to pay severely disabled people affected by the policy the full monthly loss of circa £180 they suffered and instead paid them just £120 a month, compensating for the loss of SDP and not EDP.

The SDP Gateway was introduced in 2019 to prevent other severely disabled benefits claimants from being moved onto UC outside of a managed migration process until January 2021. Outside of that period, disabled people in receipt of both SDP and EDP who experience a so-called ‘trigger event’ (certain changes in circumstances), such as a move into a UC area, experienced a sudden severe loss of income. They are known as ‘SDP natural migrants’.

The judgment in this case represents the fourth time that the Court has given detailed consideration to claims under Article 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights alleging unlawful discrimination against severely disabled adults who ‘naturally’ migrated to Universal Credit.

Once again, the Court concluded that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions was unable to show an objective and reasonable justification for the differential treatment of those in TP and AR’s position. The Court found that to a large extent the Secretary of State’s arguments and evidence were the same as in the earlier cases.[1] In spite of the outcome and detailed findings in the previous cases, the Defendant’s evidence on key points was very limited, too generic or otherwise inadequate.[2] Notwithstanding the Secretary of State’s continued claims that something significant had changed, the Court repeatedly emphasised that the essential differences in treatment remained the same and that neither legislative changes nor temporary Covid-related support changed the analysis.[3]

The court held that Regulation 63 and Schedule 2 of the Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2014 unlawfully discriminate against TP and AR by failing to cover the loss of EDP when providing transitional payments. It thereby treated them less favourably, without reasonable justification, than (1) legacy benefit claimants entitled to SDP who did not experience a ‘trigger event’ compelling them to claim UC, and (2) legacy benefit claimants entitled to UC who experienced a ‘trigger event’ on or after 16 January 2019 and before 27 January 2021 (during the period in which the Gateway was in place).

Mr Justice Holgate found:

  • The Covid-19 uplift received by UC claimants during the pandemic does not undo or make up for the disadvantage caused by the failure to cover the loss of EDP.
  • The inclusion of relief for EDP would not overpay those of the 71,000 claimants who receive SDP but not EDP. Overpayment could be avoided if legislation provided for six fixed rates of payment rather than three. “The suggestion that transitional payments in respect of EDP could not be deliverable has simply not been made out,” he said.
  • The risk that a ruling in favour of TP and AR would trigger ‘piggyback’ (similar, other) claims was not realistic.
  • The Secretary of State had not shown a reasonable relationship of proportionality between her aim of curtailing public expenditure, and the decision not to provide any element of transitional relief against the loss of EDP.

“I am not satisfied … that the broad aims of promoting phased transition, curtailing public expenditure or administrative efficiency required the denial of transitional relief against the loss of EDP for SDP natural migrants,” he said.

“A fair balance has not been struck between the severity of the effects of the measure under challenge … and the contribution that that measure makes to the achievement of the [Secretary of State’s] aims.”

He said there was stronger evidence to conclude this “where there is no connection between the triggering event, the move to a home in a different local authority area, and any rational assessment of the disability needs of a severely disabled claimant.”

The judgment also found in favour of claimants AB and F, a disabled mother and child, saying that the discrimination they suffered “is manifestly without reasonable foundation”.

The DWP’s failure to provide transitional protection against the loss of the lower disabled child element of Child Tax Credit was found to constitute unlawful discrimination.

It treated AB and F less favourably than legacy benefit claimants entitled to SDP and the lower disabled child element of Child Tax Credit who have not experienced a trigger event compelling them to claim UC.

It also treated them less favourably than legacy benefit claimants who were entitled to SDP and the lower disabled child element of Child Tax Credit who experienced a trigger event whilst the SDP gateway was in place.

“I am relieved that the judge agrees that the DWP treated us differently than other severely disabled benefits claimants and that it was wrong to do so,” said TP.

“The past six years have been immensely stressful as I have struggled to get by on a lower income. I just hope that the DWP will put all of this right as soon as possible so that those of us who have been badly affected by this unfair policy can get on with our lives.”

AR added: “It should never have been the case that disabled people entitled to the severe and enhanced disability premiums were suddenly deprived of the equivalent sum when they found themselves transferred onto Universal Credit.

“The policy has caused me and others serious hardship and I am glad that the court has seen the sense in our argument. Hopefully we will be ‘fourth time lucky’ and finally have reached the end of the road fighting this unfair policy.”

Their solicitor, Tessa Gregory, said she could not understand why the DWP was still dragging the affair out in the courts.

“Following the three previous findings of unlawful discrimination, the DWP should have ensured our clients were not losing out on severe and enhanced disability payments.

“Instead, after each judgment the DWP has made further attempts to short-change this group of highly vulnerable claimants who faced a cliff edge loss of income when none of their disability needs has changed.

“Our clients hope that this judgment marks the end of the road and that the DWP will stop wasting money on legal fees and get on with protecting the vulnerable.”

Source: Severely disabled benefits claimants TP and AR win legal challenge over loss of income caused by move on to Universal Credit | Leigh Day

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MPs bypass #DWP to publish controversial report on claimants’ experience of #benefits

Boris Johnson isn’t the only Tory minister facing serious consequences for their actions this week. It’s looking bad for Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey too.

Coffey has repeatedly refused to publish a DWP-commissioned report on disabled people’s experiences of the benefit system – so the Commons Work and Pensions Committee has given orders for its authors to provide a copy to Parliament, which will then be published.

The report, The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits was received by the Government in September 2020. The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) had interviewed disabled people about their experiences of receiving PIP, ESA and Universal Credit.

The committee last month gave the Secretary of State one final chance to publish the report, which she herself admitted fell within the Government’s own protocol for publication.

But Coffey said she would not be reconsidering her decision.

Why not? It seems likely that researchers at NatCen, who wrote the report, found that people on disability and other health-related benefits were overwhelmingly negative about their experience of the system under Tories including Coffey and her forerunners, going right back to Iain Duncan Smith.

NatCen has been ordered to provide a copy of its report by January 27.

“After repeated obstruction from the Secretary of State to keep from public view a piece of work that falls within the Government’s own protocol for publication, we have reached the end of the road,” said Work and Pensions Committee chairman Stephen Timms.

“We would have much rather the DWP had done the right thing and published the report itself, so it is with regret that we must now take the highly unusual step of using our parliamentary powers to obtain a copy from NatCen and publish it ourselves.

“We have been forced to do this to ensure that the reality of disabled people’s experiences of the benefits system can see the light of day.”

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