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Universal Credit group action FAQs

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Download Universal Credit group actions FAQS - word document

1. How much will I be compensated?

We will be seeking damages for the full amount of Severe Disability Premium  lost since your claim for Universal Credit was made, less any backdated amounts paid to you by the DWP, these are known as ‘pecuniary damages’.
For instance, a single person who was previously in receipt of both premiums, and claimed Universal Credit in April 2018, will have lost £4196.40 by April 2019. This figure increases to £7811.80 for a couple.

We will also be claiming what is known as ‘non-pecuniary damages’ for mental suffering, distress, anxiety, humiliation and disruption to life, which will be based on the upheaval and inconvenience caused by the move to Universal Credit and any deterioration in your health as a result.

We cannot give an exact figure for the compensation at this stage as this is dependent on both the outcome and your individual circumstances. You will only receive compensation if the claim is successful.

2. Do I have to pay anything?

Claims will be brought under a ‘no win no fee agreement’, with Leigh Day taking 25% plus VAT of any non-pecuniary damages awarded.

This means that if the claims are not successful, you will not have to pay any of our fees, and if we win, you get to keep any back-dated benefits in full. Leigh Day will only make any deductions from non-pecuniary damages awarded.

Additionally, following a win, any costs paid or payable by the DWP will be set-off against our fee, meaning that the deduction would only need to cover the difference between our fee and any costs we are able to recover. 

Fees may be payable if the funding agreement is breached.

3. What about the DWP compensation payments

We are aware that the government has recently announced plans to make transitional payments to those who have lost their severe disability premium following migration to Universal Credit . This has been widely reported by the media, and the details can be found in Regulation 63 and Schedule 2 of The Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019.
The regulations show there are various caveats surrounding these payments, such as the widely reported figure of £405 only applying to joint claimants in receipt of the higher rate of SDP. Additionally, those who are no longer in receipt of the DLA care component or the PIP daily living component, despite having previously been entitled, may not receive these payments. It is therefore not yet clear exactly who will actually receive these payments and we are keeping the situation under review.
We also note that Enhanced Disability Premium (otherwise known as the ‘Disability Income Guarantee’) is not covered by the Department’s plans. Our Human Rights team has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to seek clarification on how they arrived at the relevant figures. More information on this can be found here.
We therefore anticipate that our group claim will still be necessary to ensure that claimants are awarded backdated benefits in full, as well as an additional amount in compensation to reflect any pain and distress caused by the removal of the severe disability premium following migration to Universal Credit.

4. Have similar claims been brought?

Yes, they have been brought and they have been won.
Leigh Day’s human rights team brought claims on behalf of TP & AR, two individuals who lost their Severe Disability Premium and/or Enhanced Disability Premium following migration to Universal Credit triggered by a move to a different Local Authority area. The claimants were successful in the High Court and were awarded backdated benefits as well as compensation.

Our human rights team successfully brought a further claim, following the introduction of new regulations in January 2019, that found that all those who migrated to Universal Credit prior to 16 January 2019 were discriminated against.
Child Poverty Action Group are currently bringing a claim on behalf of individuals who were moved to Universal Credit following an error by the DWP. 
Claims are also being brought by Leigh Day, again on behalf of TP & AR, in relation the new regulations which prevented people in receipt of disability premiums being moved on to Universal Credit after 16 January 2019. If successful this will mean that anyone who lost their disability premiums, as a result of a transfer to Universal Credit, should be entitled to compensation.

5. Who can bring a claim?

We would like to hear from anyone who made a claim for Universal Credit, before 16th January 2019, and had previously claimed a benefit with an additional award of severe disability premium. If you claimed the following ‘legacy’ benefits you may have also been in receipt of severe disability premium:
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance [‘JSA’]
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance [‘ESA’]

6. How do I know if I was receiving severe disability premium?

A legacy benefit award letter will indicate this on the page showing the breakdown of your benefit entitlement. If the letter states that you receive:
  • Extra money because you are severely disabled’ then you were receiving severe disability premium.
  • For 2018/19 this was set at a rate of £64.30 per week for single people and £128.60 for couples
  • For 2019/20 this was set at a rate of £65.85 per week for single people and £131.70 for couples

7. I have another issue with the DWP, can you advise me on this?

If you have another problem with a benefit claim, we recommend that you contact a specialist welfare benefits advice service in the first instance.
If you feel you have been discriminated against by the DWP in another way please contact us.

8. How long will the claims take?

Whilst it is impossible to give an entirely accurate estimate, as this will depend on the attitude of the DWP, we anticipate that this claim could take between 12 to 24 months to be resolved.

9. Could bringing a claim affect my benefit entitlement?

Bringing a claim for the loss of Severe Disability Premium and/or Enhanced Disability Premium is completely separate to appealing a benefits decision in the Social Security Tribunals, and so will not affect your ongoing benefit entitlement. Bringing a claim will not automatically trigger a reassessment of your benefit.

10. Do I need to provide medical evidence?

However you may be required to provide medical evidence in order to prove that you have suffered particular mental suffering, distress and anxiety over and above what would be expected due to a sudden and ongoing loss of income.

11. Is there a time limit to bring a claim?

We will assess whether your claim is in time at the point we receive your enquiry. However the sooner you contact us, after receiving any backdated payment, the better.

12. How will you communicate with me?

We tend to communicate through email, telephone, and post, but if you have any specific communication needs please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you.
You can also give us permission to communicate with you through an adviser, support worker, friend or relative. 

13. How difficult will the claim be?

We understand that that life can get in the way of legal action, and the thought of bringing a claim can be daunting. As your claim will be part of a group action you will be one of many who are claiming. We have robust systems in place and are happy to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that bringing a claim is not difficult or onerous. 
Once we have received evidence of your losses you may have as much or as little involvement as you like. Additionally, as noted above, you may engage with the claim through an adviser or another intermediary.

14. I live outside of England & Wales, can you represent me?

In the UK our Courts and legal system are divided into three jurisdictions: England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

If you live in Scotland we will seek an  agreement that your claim can be pursued in the Courts of England & Wales, as yet we do not know whether this will be allowed. However we hope that the more enquiries from Scotland that we receive the stronger the chance will be that we will be able to pursue these claims on behalf of Scottish Universal Credit Claimants. If you would like your claim to be dealt with in Scotland we recommend that you contact local advice services as we are unable to pursue this action in the Scottish Courts.

Unfortunately we will not be able to deal with enquiries received from people based in Northern Ireland and would recommend that local advice services are contacted.

Contact us 

Please get in touch by filling out one of our forms, or alternatively you can contact us by email
or telephone 0161 804 0760.

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