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Legacy Benefits

Volume 690: debated on Monday 8 March 2021

In April 2020, legacy benefits were increased by £600 million, and they will increase by a further £100 million as part of the Government’s annual uprating exercise. Support is also available for legacy claimants migrating across to universal credit. Since July 2020, a two-week run-on of housing benefit, income support and income-related employment and support allowance and income-based jobseeker’s allowance is paid to eligible claimants to provide additional support to move to UC.

Nearly 2 million sick and disabled people claiming ESA have missed out on £1,000 this year, at a time when they are facing increased costs. The Minister will know that for many of them a transition on to UC would see them significantly worse off. Will he review the Chancellor’s decision to continue to discriminate against those disabled people on legacy benefits? Almost a year into the crisis, what possible justification is there for this two-tier system?

The temporary UC standard allowance uplift was introduced to support those facing the most financial disruption due to the pandemic. Legacy benefits were uprated by CPI—the consumer prices index—last year and will be uprated again by CPI as part of the annual uprating exercise. Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for UC if they believe they will be better off. I encourage anybody to go on and use one of the independent benefit calculators to check carefully their eligibility, because on applying for UC their entitlement to legacy benefit will cease.