The government discriminated against people who lost money when moved onto universal credit, the High Court said today.
Two severely disabled men brought a challenge against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after the switch from the old system – known as legacy benefits – to universal credit cost them £180 a month each.
Speaking in court ahead of the judgement, DWP representatives argued a ruling in favour of the claimants could affect around 50,000 people in similar circumstances – costing the government £150m in payouts over a six-year period.
From just £3 per week
After the government launched universal credit in 2013, it started moving people from the legacy benefits system through “managed migration”, which ensured they would not receive less money on the new system.
But those forced to switch to universal credit via a trigger event, such as moving house or newly claiming housing benefit – which is now exclusive to universal credit – are not entitled to the same cash protection, meaning thousands saw their incomes drop overnight.
One of the claimants who brought the judicial review – who wishes to be known as TP – said: “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.