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Legal challenge launched by disabled student for right to claim universal credit


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Representing a disabled student, Sidra Kauser, whose claim for universal credit was rejected after the DWP refused to undertake a work capability assessment on the basis that she was a full-time student, Leigh Day solicitors say -

‘She has now applied to the High Court for permission to judicially review the DWP’s policy…

Sidra believes that if she were permitted to have a work capability assessment, then she would be designated as having a limited capability for work and would be entitled to claim universal credit.

Our client believes it is grossly unfair that the government’s policy only sets out to support those already receiving universal credit to access higher education and does not seek to support those who are applying for courses or who are already in education. It is not acceptable for the government to expect disabled students to live on extremely limited financial means during their course of study which has huge ramifications on their health and education outcomes.

Our client argues that the government’s policy that she cannot have a work capability assessment is irrational and therefore unlawful.’

[ Edited: 29 Jun 2020 at 09:38 am by Stuart ]
Elliot Kent
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I find it surprising that DWP are apparently defending the JR on the basis that there is a policy intention to exclude these people from benefit.

The DWP says the purpose of the policy is to encourage existing claimants with health conditions to take up education that may help them get into work in the future.

As I’d understood it, the problem was basically a practical one and DWP were finding (admittedly pretty unsatisfactory) workarounds to allow these claims to proceed to the point of a WCA.

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I raised this issue with our local MPs very recently. This was the (unsatisfactory/concerning) reply I had from one who says he spoke to Justin Tomlinson about it, so this totally ignores young people who previous to needing to rely on UC had been dependents and included in parents/carers’ claims:
I am told that the aim of regulation 14(b) is, however, not to enable a person to be referred for a Work Capability Assessment in order to determine whether they have LCW, but instead to encourage existing claimants (with health conditions) to take up education that may help them into work in the future. Thus, the Minister tells me, a person claiming Universal Credit will only be able to utilise regulation 14(b) if, for example, it had already been determined, in an earlier claim or a claim for Employment and Support Allowance, that they have Limited Capability for Work.

The Minister was however keen to point out that the Department is currently reviewing this policy.

So we will continue to claim ESA at the same time!