Child Poverty Action Group comments on Universal Credit changes

By agency reporter
June 10, 2018

Child Poverty Action Group has welcomed the Government’s  announcement  that it will improve universal credit for some claimants moving over from legacy benefits including protecting those with severe disabilites from losses as they move to the new benefit. But the charity urges comparable improvements for claimants with disabled children.

On 7 June 2018, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey announced :

  • Claimants with severe disabilities who have moved from legacy benefits to universal credit will be compensated for the loss of the Severe Disability Premium (which is not carried over to universal credit) and others will only be migrated to universal credit once there is protection against that loss in place
  • Parents whose childcare costs increase after they move from tax credits to universal credit will now always have those extra costs reflected in their universal credit award

Commenting, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group Alison  Garnham said: “These are really welcome changes which will correct the current clear injustice whereby so many severely disabled claimants lose large amounts as they move from legacy benefits to universal credit. We hope the Secretary of State will follow up today’s announcement with reforms to end the comparable unfair losses faced by claimants with disabled children.

“It’s also absolutely right that parents trying to get better off through earnings should receive extra help if their childcare costs increase after they migrate to universal credit. Parents in this position who are trying to do the right thing need a benefit system that supports their efforts rather than works against them. The change announced today moves them a little further in that direction. “

CPAG is representing, in an application for judicial review, a disabled child and her mother whose legacy benefits were incorrectly ended, forcing her to claim universal credit and lose £146.81 a month (which represents over 13 per cent of their non housing related income).  

Under the tax credit system, the disabled child element, paid to children with a severe disability as measured through receipt of disability living allowance, is worth £272.92 a month. However, universal credit only provides such families with £126.11 per month (£146.81 a month less).

* More information on CPAG's application for judicial review of Universal Credit here

* Child Poverty Action Group http://www.cpag.org.uk/

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