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Government settles legal action over discrimination and Universal Credit rollout

The Government has settled a case of unlawful discrimination against two men with severe disabilities whose benefits were reduced when they moved from one local authority area to another and became required to claim Universal Credit.

Law firm Leigh Day, which represented TP and AR in the High Court, said the two had suffered unlawful discrimination by the Department for Work & Pensions.

TP was in 2016 diagnosed with terminal non-Hodgkins lymphoma and Castleman’s disease.

He moved temporarily from London to his parents’ home in Dorset but then returned to Hammersmith and Fulham, a Universal Credit full service area, to more easily access specialist healthcare.

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AR suffers from severe mental health issues. In 2017, he moved from Middlesbrough to Hartlepool, a Universal Credit full service area, as he could no longer afford his rent due to the bedroom tax.

Both had received severe and enhanced disability premiums and were advised by DWP staff that their benefits would not changes when they made UC claims.

There was though a fall in the monthly income of both men of some £178 and they were told no top-up payments would be paid until July 2019.

TP will receive a lump sum compensation of £6,517, and a monthly payment of £173.50, to cover the shortfall pending transitional protection coming into force.

AR will receive a lump sum of £4,788, and a monthly payment of £176.

Tessa Gregory, who represented the two, said: “Both of our clients suffered significant hardship because of the sudden reduction to their income when they were transferred to Universal Credit.

“We hope that the Secretary of State will now without delay compensate others in the same position and reconsider her decision to pursue an appeal against the original finding of discrimination.”

Mark Smulian

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