The Tory government will pay back thousands of severely disabled people who had their benefits cut after moving to Universal Credit.
Charities hailed victory today as ministers agreed new protections for some of the country’s most vulnerable benefit claimants.
It comes after thousands of people lost their disability ‘premiums’ by moving to UC – the Tories’ flagship all-in-one benefit.
Premiums recognise the extra costs people face if they don’t have a carer. But they do not exist under UC, which uses a separate system.
Campaigners say that left some families £147 a month out of pocket.
Now Tory minister Esther McVey has halted any more Severe Disability Premium claimants moving to UC until transition cash is in place next year.
This will protect 500,000 people who currently receive SDP.
And the Work and Pensions Secretary will make up the difference – including with back payments – for those who have already lost out.
Government figures suggest 4,000 people are set to benefit from back payments – the number who lost SDP by moving to UC.
Another 11,000 people lost the Enhanced Disability Premium, but were not covered by the new announcement.
Mencap spokeswoman Beatrice Barleon welcomed the move after warning disabled people were “falling into poverty”.
Child Poverty Action Group chief executive Alison Garnham said: “These are really welcome changes which will correct the current clear injustice.”
But charities also condemned the government for only compensating the SDP group – saying help should go further and be permanent.
Scope spokesman James Taylor said: “These premiums are not a luxury – many disabled people rely on financial support for basic needs such as food, clothing and heating.
“The loss of these crucial payments is disastrous for many disabled people.”
Mind spokeswoman VIcki Nash added: “If the Government is really committed to supporting people with mental health problems to have control over their own lives, they must reintroduce these premiums for anyone making a claim to Universal Credit.”
Ms McVey also announced extra cash today to stop poor parents losing out when they take temporary work.
And those who have already lost out in this way will receive back payments.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was unable to say how much each claimant will benefit or what the move will cost the taxpayer.
Ms McVey said the new rules would “ensure that Universal Credit supports people into work, protects vulnerable claimants and is targeted at those who need it.”
She added: “This Government is committed to delivering a welfare system that supports claimants and is fair to taxpayers.”