Severely disabled benefit claimants have been left waiting months for back payments they were promised by the DWP after moving on to Universal Credit
Labour has demanded answers for 13,000 severely disabled people left waiting months for payments from the DWP.
The benefit claimants were promised extra back payments when they lost out by moving on to Universal Credit – at least four months ago.
But despite the time passing the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has still not coughed up the money.
Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary wrote to Tory welfare chief Amber Rudd today demanding action.
Margaret Greenwood demanded a “clear timeframe” to compensate those affected for their loss.
Her letter calls for an assessment of any hardship those affected, or their children, may be suffering as a result.
And she demanded to know exactly how exactly how many people were affected – as 13,000 is only an estimate.
Ms Greenwood wrote: “The Government says repeatedly that its policy is to target support at those people who need it most.
“But the government’s failure to make payments to the thousands of severely disabled people affected at an appropriate level clearly undermines that claim.
“I ask you to address this as a matter of urgency.”
The row involves 13,000 disabled people who lost ‘Severe Disability Premiums’ when they moved to Universal Credit.
The government is offering them transition cash and a one-off “back payment” after accepting many of them lost out.
Yet months after the last claimants moved to UC in January, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) still hasn’t coughed up that extra money.
Instead, it is on hold because the cash is tied up with wider UC regulations that haven’t passed into law.
And the claimants could now face yet another delay after the High Court ruled the cash pot was unlawful.
Despite claimants being in limbo, DWP ministers said last week they had still not decided whether to appeal the High Court case.
Ms Greenwood, in her letter, urged the DWP to disclose its response to the court ruling urgently.
And she said ministers must now separate out the help for those disabled people from other regulations on UC, so they can be brought forward sooner.
Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson told MPs last week: “We will be considering all options in light of the judgement and we will update the House in due course”.
Mr Tomlinson said the Government “haven’t taken any money out of the system”, prompting groans from some MPs.
He said around one million disabled households are receiving “on average around £100 a month more on Universal Credit than they would have had on legacy benefits”.