The Court of Appeal will hear a legal challenge on the Government’s decision not to extend the £ 20 raise to those on “hereditary” benefits to support them during the pandemic.
Profit claimants on Universal Credit received a £ 20 a week increase to help them during the Covid-19 crisis.
But the rise has not been extended to those on older benefits such as Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) – which campaign groups say disproportionately affected people with disabilities.
Two disabled people who claim ESA is challenging the decision of the Department of Labor and Pensions at the High Court in London on Wednesday.
Their lawyers will argue that the Government has acted illegally by denying them the surcharges and, if the challenge is successful, almost two million people could receive up to £ 1,500 in rescheduled payments.
Before the hearing, disabled people and activists will meet outside the Royal Courts to support the case.
Members of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) – a network of more than 100 organizations including Z2K, the MS Society, MND Association, and Leonard Cheshire – are expected to hold a rally to demand justice for those who were denied extra support.
Lynn Pinfield, 51, of West Lothian, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2018 and is unable to work due to her condition.
She claims ESA, so was denied the £ 20 lifeline given to UC requirements.
In a statement before the hearing, she said: “Everyone on benefits should be treated equally. They made me feel like people with disabilities don’t matter.
“During the pandemic, prices were steadily rising, but profits remained the same, which was a struggle. With everyone at home all the time, our bills soared – our electricity bill doubled – and I had to pay everything myself without extra support.”
Anastasia Berry, of the DBC and MS Society, said: “It is utterly shameful that at the height of the pandemic, when people with disabilities most needed help, the Government turned its back. Not only was this decision cruel, but it is clear that denying one group of people extra financial support is discriminatory and creates two levels of social security.
“That is why we ask that people with inheritance benefits receive an advance payment of the equivalent amount given to those with Universal Credit.”
Ella Abraham, of Z2K and the DBC, said: “Over the last 18 months millions of disabled people, single parents and others on inheritance benefits have been discriminated against and struggled to put food on the table without the £ 20 a week increase. Universal Credit received.”
Ellen Clifford, of the DPAC, said: “The inevitable expenditure of people with disabilities has risen as a direct result of the pandemic. In the sixth richest country in the world, no one should be left too poor to bathe, too poor to wash, too poor to eat. and heat. ”
Activists will gather outside the courthouse starting at 9 a.m. and the hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m.
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