In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government announced an temporary emergency increase of £20 a week for both Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits.
DR UK syas “Although DR UK welcomes this increase, by doing so, they are discriminating against the millions of disabled people on other benefits who have not received the same increase.
DR UK – with over 100 other charities and other organisations as part of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) – has launched a petition calling on Government to immediately extend this emergency increase to all benefits, on the grounds that anything else would be discriminatory.
Alongside the petition, supported by MPs and the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, the DBC released results of an April 2020 survey of over 200 disabled people which found nearly all (95%) had seen an increase in their costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, 92% admitted they were struggling with additional food costs – and others said they were having to find the money needed to pay people to collect food and medicine, and higher heating and water bills as they were forced to shield at home.
One respondent said:
“I cannot carry shopping home, due to a chronic illness impacting my spine. As online orders from supermarkets are completely booked, I have had to find alternative shops to order from for home delivery, all of which are considerably more expensive.”
“Electric and gas charges are way up. My father is paying for some of my energy charges out of his pension. This isn’t right.”
Some even said they’re having to choose between heating their homes, feeding themselves and their families, or buying medicine, with one respondent saying the extra £20 “would mean not having to skip meals.”
Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said:
“Even before the covid-19 crisis, benefit cuts and austerity hit disabled people the hardest.
The £20 week temporary increase to Universal Credit and tax credits is welcome but should be made permanent.
It should also properly be extended to those on ‘legacy benefits’ such as ESA. In addition, the Work-Related Activity Group and UC equivalent Limited Capability for Work addition should be restored.”
DR UK urges you to join the DBC’s call and sign this petition demanding the Government to stop leaving disabled people behind and click this link which takes you to the petition stop leaving disabled people behind.
For more information see the DBC briefing The emergency need to increase disability benefits.