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Universal credit: Millions could soon get £1,500 handout if DWP loses legal fight

Pensions, Universal Credit and other payment rates from April 2022

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The High Court ruling follows a hearing last year by two claimants who argue they have been treated unfairly. Throughout the pandemic, a £20 a week uplift was given out to assist millions on Universal Credit. But excluded from this were nearly two million struggling households still on the legacy benefits system.

The two claimants involved in the High Court ruling are among those who say they should have received equivalent support.

Those who claim benefits such as personal independence payments (PIP), or employment support allowance (ESA), and disabled people were left without the uplift.

If the court rules in favour of the claimants, the DWP could be forced to issue back payments worth up to £1,560 to the millions affected, according to The Sun.

However, it is not guaranteed the DWP will issue back payments if the court rules in favour of the claimants.

The case was held over two days in November 2021.

A judgement was expected within a few weeks.

An update from one of the law firms involved stated it is still waiting for a judgement.

An update from Doughty Street Chambers said: “It is not unusual that in a case of this type and importance for many hundreds of thousands of people that judgement takes some time.”

William Ford, solicitor for the claimants at Osbornes Law, previously said: “Whilst the uplift for those on Universal Credit is very much welcomed, there is no evidence to demonstrate that those in receipt of Universal Credit were more in need of the uplift than those on legacy benefits.

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“This two-tiered approach to the UK social security system should end and we would encourage the government to re-think its position.”

Amid rising living costs, the Government has been pressured to reintroduce the £20-a-week universal credit uplift.

The uplift was introduced in March 2020 but ended last October.

Garry Lemon, director of policy and research at Trussell Trust, has called on the Government to bring back the uplift over the winter.

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He told The i: “I am deeply worried about the cost of living crisis.

“There is a large population of people who have very little protection from price increases and can spiral quickly into destitution, meaning they can’t afford absolute essentials such as food, heating, lighting or sanitary goods.

“The gap between what they can afford and the price of essentials is growing.

“You can see that with the need for our food banks.

“The Government should reinstate the £20 uplift and make it permanent.

“We know there is a mechanism for them to do it because they’ve just done it in 2020.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “It has always been the case that claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit if they believe that they will be better off.

“We do not comment on specific legal matters.”

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