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3 December, 2020 Open access

Extending the £20 universal credit uplift to legacy benefit claimants is the ‘right thing to do’, JRF says

New briefing highlights that disability benefit claimants, the majority of whom claim legacy benefits, are facing extra costs and greater risks to employment income in the pandemic but have been 'cut adrift' without extra support

Extending the £20 universal credit uplift to legacy benefit claimants is the ‘right thing to do’, the JRF has said in a new briefing on the financial impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) on disabled people and their carers.

In The financial impact of COVID-19 on disabled people and their carers, the JRF reviews recent research into the additional financial pressures on disabled people and their carers, both prior to and as a result of, the pandemic, and presents key findings including that -

In addition, the JRF says that, as the majority of people who claim disability benefits are on legacy benefits - employment and support allowance, income support or jobseeker's allowance - they have not been supported through the pandemic by the temporary £20 uplift to universal credit this year.

This, the JRF says, has lead to legacy benefit claimants being 'cut adrift without crucial support' and, as a result, it calls for the uplift to be extended to legacy benefits and for it to be made permanent -

‘Throwing the equivalent £20 lifeline to people on legacy benefits is the right thing to do. It would see 1.6 million more families who are most at risk of poverty benefiting from this crucial support in 2021/2022. It would also lift a further 200,000 people out of poverty. The cost of throwing this lifeline would fall over the coming years as most people on legacy benefits migrate to universal credit, but for families struggling to stay afloat the need is urgent.’

For more information, see The financial impact of COVID-19 on disabled people and their carers from jrf.org.uk