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Universal Credit migration arrangements for severely disabled people ruled unlawful

08 May 2019

The High Court has ruled that the government’s Universal Credit migration arrangements for those who previously received the Severe Disability Premium and moved onto Universal Credit before 16 January 2019 are unlawful.

If the arrangements had been allowed to go ahead they would have left over 10,000 severely disabled people around a £100-a-month worse off.

The case was brought by two profoundly disabled men, known as TP & AR, represented by Leigh Day Solicitors and a woman, known as SXC, also profoundly disabled, represented by Central England Law Centre.
 
TP and AR argued in their legal case, heard in the High Court on 12 and 13 March, that the government’s provisions for individuals who moved onto Universal Credit before the so-called ‘SDP Gateway’ are discriminatory.
 
The SDP Gateway came into force on 16 January 2019 and prevents any further severely disabled benefits claimants from being forced to move onto Universal Credit until they are subject to a managed migration process.
 
Under the government’s regulations those who moved onto Universal Credit before the SDP Gateway came into force would be provided with only £80 per month in compensation, whereas individuals who would be managed migrated would receive a top-up of £180 per month. The £180 reflects the amount actually lost when people move onto Universal Credit.
 
The provision under challenge that sets the level of compensation at £80 has not yet come into force but if it came into force in the form proposed by the government, the 10,000 plus severely disabled persons who moved onto Universal Credit before 16th January 2019 would receive significantly less in benefits than those who moved afterwards despite their needs as severely disabled people being the same.
 
TP & AR argued that this difference in treatment is not justified. The High Court has agreed with them and ruled the provision unlawful.  
 
TP and AR were successful in a previous case last year where the High Court ruled that the government had unlawfully discriminated against them when their benefits were dramatically reduced when they moved Local Authority and they were required to claim Universal Credit. As a result of that case TP & AR currently receive the full £180 a month top up to their benefits. However, if the new provisions had come into force this would have been reduced to £80 a month.

The High Court’s judgment - TP AR & SXC, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Work And Pensions [2019] EWHC 1127 (Admin) (03 May 2019) – is available @ www.bailii.org

For more information see Government defeated again as High Court finds Universal Credit migration arrangements unlawful available @ www.leighday.co.uk.

See also the DR UK news story Claimants with severe disability premium prevented from claiming universal credit.