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Universal Credit cuts High Court challenge by family with disabled child

Thursday 24th January 2019

A family whose income dropped when they were forced onto Universal Credit has taken their case to the High Court this week.

The charity Child Poverty Action Group has taken a case to court on behalf of a single parent with a 12 year old disabled child who was on the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the middle rate.

When there was a delay in the DLA claim being renewed, the family were wrongly told by the Department for Work and Pensions that their Income Support had to stop and that they should come off tax credits and claim Universal Credit instead. When they did this they found that they were left £140 per month worse off, because payments of the disabled child element are lower under Universal Credit than they were under tax credits.

Press reports suggest the family are taking legal action for two main reasons:

  1. That they were moved onto Universal Credit as a result of a mistake by the Department for Work and Pensions but despite this there is no way of them moving back onto income support and tax credits.
  2. That there isn't any top-up payments to compensate for the cut in the disabled child element under Universal Credit.

This is the first time that the courts will have looked at how Universal Credit impacts on disabled children, and in particular on the legality of cuts to payments for disabled children under the new benefit.

The High Court was scheduled to hear this case on 23 and 24January but it may be some time before the judgement is known. We will provide an update as soon as this is published.

More information

Find out more about cuts to payments for disabled children under Universal Credit and the steps that Contact is taking to challenge this.

If you have any questions about Universal Credit or any other benefit get in touch with our free Family Finances Helpline on 0808 808 3555 or email helpline@contact.org.uk.

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