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18 May, 2020 Open access

Legal action launched challenging DWP’s continued application of benefit cap and deductions for advances during coronavirus pandemic

Pre-action protocol letter from Leigh Day solicitors argues that DWP's actions are irrational and perverse and violate claimant's human rights

A legal action has been launched challenging the DWP's continued application of the benefit cap and deductions for advance payments during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Representing a single mother - who, despite the recent increases to the universal credit standard allowance, saw her monthly universal credit payment reduced due to the application of the benefit cap and recovery of an advance payment - Leigh Day solicitors have issued a pre-action protocol letter to the DWP making a case for judicial review. In the letter, Leigh Day argues that the application of the benefit cap and the decision to continue to apply advance payment deductions (which led to a decrease in the claimant's monthly payment of £122.96) are irrational and perverse and violate the claimant's rights under article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) read with article 1 of the First Protocol ECHR and/or article 8 ECHR.

Requesting a reply by 20 May 2020, Leigh Day asks the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to explain her decision to retain the benefit cap and advance payment deductions, and to confirm that she will - 

Commenting on the action, Leigh Day solicitor Carolin Ott said - 

'The increase to the universal credit standard allowance was intended to help the most vulnerable in society meet the extra costs they would face because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, our client has been left worse off because the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has applied the benefit cap and advance payment deductions.
 
“Our client argues this is unlawful as it is irrational and discriminatory. The benefit cap is a measure intended to encourage benefit claimants into work but it is absurd for it to deprive individuals of much needed support during a time when it is entirely unrealistic for them to enter into employment.'

For more information see Mother issues legal case after benefits cap wipes out COVID-19 help measures from leighday.co.uk