The UK Government has rejected calls for out of work benefits to be urgently increased during the coronavirus crisis.
Last month over 115,000 people signed the Don’t Leave Disabled People Behind petition calling for all out of work benefits, such as Employment and Support Allowance, to receive the emergency £20 top up given to Universal Credit. But the UK Government has said it's "too complicated" for their computer system.
As part of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), a network of over 100 organisations, we’ve now written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP.
We’ve urged him to stop this discrimination against disabled people, by extending the top-up and backdating pay to when the Universal Credit increase was introduced on the 6 April 2020.
Disabled people are being denied vital support
Chris Bourne, 60, is from Leeds. He gave up work in 2019 to care for his wife Dawn who lives with secondary progressive MS. Dawn receives Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) so does not qualify for the extra £20 a week.
Chris says: “Dawn is among the most vulnerable people in this country, so it doesn’t make sense why we can’t get the £20 uplift. It might have only been a few months, but council tax and the water bill has already gone up.
"Having that £20 would help towards these essential bills – especially as I have no real wage other than the weekly £67 I get as a carer. We need that financial support.”
Not an acceptable excuse
Anastasia Berry, our Policy Manager and Policy Co-Chair of the DBC, says: “More than 130,000 people live with MS in the UK, and many who receive out of work benefits are being denied extra financial support at a time when they need it the most.
“To say the reason is because it's 'too complicated' is a slap in the face for the thousands of people in vulnerable situations who have been hit with extra costs to survive the pandemic. This is not an acceptable excuse, and we urgently need to see an increase in ESA and other legacy benefits so those living with MS, and other disabled people, aren’t left behind.”
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