Universal Credit

Make Universal Credit fair for disabled children 

Universal Credit is a new benefit for people aged between 16 and 64. It can be paid to people who are out of work and to those who are in employment. It is replacing most of the existing means-tested benefits for people of working age with a single monthly payment.

100,000 families with disabled children will be worse off by more than £1,750 per year as a result of the 50% cut to the child disability payment under Universal Credit. That's £175 million less going towards helping disabled children with their extra care costs. 

Families with disabled children who'll be affected in this way are already struggling to afford basics like food and heating. A cut of more than £1,750 a year is likely to result in increased debt, stress and ill health.

This is why our research shows 7 in 10 families are worried about the introduction of Universal Credit. 

In addition whilst Universal Credit is intended to simplify the system the reality is that families with disabled children need specialist advice to understand how it will affect them. We expect calls to our family finances helpline to rocket this year at the same time we face ending this one of a kind service as funding comes to an end.

Contact is therefore calling on the government to Make Universal Credit Fair for Disabled Children and their families.

You can help us by donating to our Lifeline Appeal, for every £10 you give we can secure £130 into the pockets of families with disabled children.  

What we want

Our Make Universal Credit Fair for Disabled Children campaign. Is calling on the government to:

  • Stop the £175 million cut to the lower disabled child addition under Universal Credit. This would benefit more than 100,000 disabled children and their families.  
  • Stop the Universal Credit takeaway in hospital,residential care and the rules that restrict disabled young people who are treated as 'receiving education' from being able to claim Universal Credit. This would benefit around 1500-2000 disabled children,young adults and their families.
  • Support our specialist family finances helpline so families don't miss out on Universal Credit when they are asked to claim via new claims, change of circumstances and via managed migration.  

We have produced a Universal Credit briefing [PDF] that explains the issues in more detail. 

We also support calls to suspend the rollout and 'managed migration' of claimants onto Universal Credit.

What we are doing

  • Families handed our petition about cuts child disability payments to the Prime Minister at Downing Street in June. Thank you to the 5000 supporters who signed our petition.  The response didn't address the issued 

  • An Early Day Motion (EDM) has been tabled by Caroline Lucas MP for Brighton supported by more than 90 MPs (one of the top supported EDM in the last year).

  • More than 1000 of our supporters have written to their MPs about cuts to child disability payments under Universal Credit. As a result 35 MPs wrote to the DWP about cuts to child disability payments under Universal Credit.

  • We have supported a number of parents to speak to the media about the impact of Unversial Credit.

  • Working with Leigh Day solicitors to identify families that might want to challenge the cuts to disabled children's payments using the Courts. Please contact TGregory@leighday.co.uk if you want to find out more. You are under no obligation and legal aid could be available.
  • Been briefing MPs, peers and officials on the impact of Universal Credit on disabled children; read our Universal Credit briefing.
  • Following a legal challenge, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions announced disabled adults who are facing cuts in payments when moving onto Universal Credit will be protected. We are disappointed that disabled children are not protected in the same way. 

What you can do

  • If you have experience of claiming Universial Credit and would like to help our campaign, please get in touch with una.summerson@contact.org.uk  
  • You can help us by donating to our Lifeline Appeal, for every £10 you give we can secure £130 into the pockets of families with disabled children. 

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