The government has lost the first legal challenge over crisis-hit Universal Credit.
The High Court heard how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) moved two disabled claimants with severe health problems onto the flagship reform without ensuring they would continue to receive the same amount of support.
The decision was “discriminatory and unlawful”, a judge said.
One of the claimants, a 52-year-old terminally ill man suffering from non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and Castleman’s Disease, lost out on premiums worth £178 a month when he was transferred onto Universal Credit.
While the second claimant, a 36-year-old with severe mental health issues, saw his payments reduced by the same amount.
The premiums for those with severe care needs total over £2000 a year.
The case was a judicial review, which is primarily concerned with how a decision or policy has been made, rather than whether it was “right”.
Preempting the judgement, Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey announced last week that so-called “transitional protections” for claimants with such needs would be put in place before they could be moved onto Universal Credit.
She told the Commons in a written statement: ”[I]n order to support the transition for those individuals who live alone with substantial care needs and receive the severe disability premium, we are changing the system so that these claimants will not be moved to Universal Credit until they qualify for transitional protection.”
Universal Credit has been blamed for an increase in food bank use and homelessness, with last week’s announcement being the latest in a series of u-turns and backtracks by ministers.
Thursday’s judgement is the first legal victory for campaigners against the system, which brings together six different benefits into one monthly payment and is due to roll out to all claimants by 2022.
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Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Tec