MILLIONS of people on legacy benefits will miss out on a £720 cash boost following a legal battle.

The Court of Appeal has dismissed a case calling for a judicial review into how certain benefit recipients were treated during the coronavirus pandemic.

Just under two million could have received backdated payments worth £720


Just under two million could have received backdated payments worth £720Credit: Getty

Households on Universal Credit were given a £20 a week uplift to help them through the pandemic.

But nearly two million on legacy benefits did not receive the payments.

This included those on personal independence payments (PIP) and employment support allowance (ESA).

Four legacy benefit claimants, backed by law firm Osborne Law, took their case against the DWP to the High Court to get the equivalent cash back, arguing their treatment was unfair.

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They lost their case in February 2022, with the DWP arguing raising the £20 wasn’t as easy for those on legacy benefits because of outdated computer systems.

But Osborne Law appealed the decision arguing its case to the Court of Appeal at the end of last year.

In a decision handed down today, the court dismissed the appeal in a blow to millions on benefits.

It accepted those on legacy benefits had been treated less favourably as a group.

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But it also accepted that the Government had to make a choice to prioritise those on benefits and in the labour market, who would have become unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Sun has approached Osborne Law to see if it will appeal today’s decision.

Will Ford, a partner at the law firm, said he understood many on legacy benefits would be “greatly disappointed” by the result.

“All possible effort was made to persuade the Court of Appeal to reach a different outcome and it is deeply disappointing that this did not prove possible,” he said.

“All that remains for me to do is give thanks to the claimants for being willing to bring this challenge to the government, as well as to their barrister, Jamie Burton KC and Desmond Rutledge, who so ably put forward the legal arguments on their behalf.”

The law firm was asking judges to rule the government’s policy was unlawful in its last nine months, from January 8, 2021.

If the case was successful, the DWP would have had several options – one would have included backdated payments for all those impacted.

That would have meant a payment worth £720 being made to the nearly two million people on legacy benefits.

This is based on the £20 a week for 36 weeks (nine months).

A DWP spokesperson said: “We welcome the Court of Appeal’s findings in our favour.

“It has always been the case that claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit if they believe they will be better off.”

Can I get benefits backdated?

An estimated £13 billion worth of benefits is going unclaimed, according to the latest data.

Nearly three million are missing out on £2.7 billion in council tax support.

Meanwhile, half a million families are missing out on just under £1 billion in child benefit.

But you can get some benefits backdated if you are late to claiming them.

New claims for Universal Credit can be backdated for a maximum of one month.

You can get child benefit and pension credit backdated for up to three months.

But in most cases you will have to provide evidence to show a good reason why you could not make the claim earlier.

This might be because:

  • you have a disability
  • you are unwell
  • the online claims system was down
  • you are making a new claim after breaking up with a partner

You can apply to backdate benefit payments when applying for the benefit, but how you do this will vary.

You should check with the government before processing your application.

You can request your benefits to be backdated by writing to the DWP, HMRC or your local council.

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In other news, we reveal three PIP changes coming this year.

Plus, with temperatures plummeting, how you can get paid if you’re on a low income.

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