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Social security
Cost of living

The financial impact of COVID-19 on disabled people and carers

The £20-a-week uplift to Universal Credit has been a lifeline for millions of people during the coronavirus pandemic, but people on legacy benefits have been unjustly excluded from this vital financial support so far. This briefing shows why throwing this same lifeline to people on legacy benefits is the right thing to do.

Written by:
Francesca Maddison and Gemma Schwendel
Date published:

The November 2020 Spending Review was a missed opportunity for the Government to take bold action on the threat of a rising tide of poverty.

This was a chance to end the uncertainty, insecurity and anxious wait for people who face the £20 uplift being ending in April, and keep this lifeline. It was also an opportunity to throw this same lifeline to people on ‘legacy’ benefits (Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support), who have been excluded from this support all the way through the pandemic .

This briefing shows why it's essential - and the right thing to do - to make this same uplift to people who are on legacy benefits, most of whom are disabled, sick or carers. It explains:

  • how disabled people's financial circumstances have become even more precarious during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • the rising costs disabled people face
  • the reduction in their incomes and the heightened challenges they face in the labour market, and
  • the impact that extending the lifeline would have for people on legacy benefits.

Our recommendation is that, as well as keeping the £20 uplift in Universal Credit, the Government must throw this same lifeline to people on legacy benefits, who have so far been cut adrift without this crucial support.

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