In Parliament this week I criticised the UK Government’s handling of benefits payments for severely disabled people and the Government’s policy preventing those unable to work from receiving the support they are entitled to for more than 3 months.
Speaking in DWP Questions, I said “It is shameful that it took the Government 15 months and a High Court ruling to sort out payments for those with severe disabilities but problems continue. Why does a young constituent who has Down’s Syndrome making a new claim have to wait over 3 months for a full payment.”
DWP Minister Justin Tomlinson responded by saying that the Government would ‘continue to work with stakeholders and claimants to make sure the system is improved’.
An estimated 13,000 people lost their severe disability premium when they had a change of circumstances and were forced onto Universal Credit. The Government u-turned in June last year, agreeing to provide support for those who lost the payment. But proposed regulations by the Government were deemed unlawful in May this year and it took until the 11th hour of Parliamentary time before the Government brought forward new regulations without a vote before the summer recess to provide ongoing payments and a backdated payment for those affected.
Constituents of mine who lost their severe disability premium due to a change in circumstances lost a desperately-needed part of their income for far too long – it is a scandal that they had to wait over a year for the backdated payments they were owed. It is equaly shameful that under this deeply flawed system, those who are unable to work do not receive their full UC entitlement which would help them to live more independent lives until after 13 weeks. The Government are denying people what they are entitled to for a full quarter of a year.