THOUSANDS WITH SEVERE DISABILITIES CONTINUE TO BE LEFT IN THE LURCH.
SNP MP SLAMS TORIES FOR FURTHER DELAY TO BENEFIT BACK-PAYMENTS.
The SNP’s Work and Pensions spokesperson, Neil Gray MP, has slammed the UK Tory government for continuing to delay back-payments to claimants who lost out on Severe-Disability Premium (SDP).
Mr Gray has written to Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd, and the Leader of the House, Mel Stride, calling on them to outline exactly when former Severe Disability Premium claimants will receive the money they are owed, including the additional funds they deserve as a result of a High Court judgement in May.
The Department for Work and Pensions committed to initiating the SDP back-payments in July. However, no time has been made for a debate on regulations which would enable this to happen in the final week of the parliamentary session. This means back-payments will not even begin until August, at the earliest, therefore people will have to wait longer for the money they are owed.
Under pressure from the SNP, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) were forced to U-turn and confirm they will repay the 7,000 claimants who have lost out on months-worth of severe disability premium payments as a result of being moved to Universal Credit. This promise was made over ten months ago and, to date, not one person has been reimbursed.
The DWP said that the repayments could take up to six months to administer once MPs have voted on managed migration regulations, leaving people waiting over a year and a half after they were promised repayments by the Tory government.
The SNP has consistently raised concerns that if these repayments remain conditional on MPs approving managed migration regulations, repayments could be delayed further than December 2019. The SNP have called on the Government to separate out the SDPs back-payment legislation from the managed migration pilot.
Commenting, Neil Gray MP said:
“The Tory government’s incompetence is truly staggering. They’ve had several weeks to make amendments to these regulations to comply with the High Court’s judgement and they have failed to do so.
“It is outrageous that the Department is keeping recipients, MPs, charities, local authorities and other stakeholders in the dark over their plans for the pilot and when arrangements will be made for back-payments of Severe Disability Premium. Thousands of people are missing out on vital money they need to survive.
“Managed Migration is set to be the most challenging phase of the Universal Credit roll-out so far. While we do not think Universal Credit is in a fit state for this new phase, the SDPs back-payments must be initiated as a matter of urgency. The Government’s shambolic handling of this legislation shows nothing but contempt for Universal Credit claimants.
“This is yet another example of how the entire UK Government has been paralysed by the chaos of Brexit and navel-gazing over the Tory leadership race. It is imperative the UK government urgently make time for a debate on this so that people get the money they are entitled to.”