DWP to undertake review as PIP recipient wins right to be considered for Universal Credit

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The ruling also affects other disabled students who have been refused Universal Credit. Sidra Kauser, 22, is visually impaired and is currently studying for a masters degree at York University.

Ms Kauser, from Halifax, received Personal Independence Payment (PIP) but the payment, combined with a student loan, was not enough to cover an acceptable standard of living.

Following the payment of her rent, she had £120 per month to live on.

Ms Kauser applied for Universal Credit, however due to being a student, she was refused a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

This meant she was “effectively disentitled” from claiming Universal Credit.

Ms Kauser applied for a judicial review of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) policy, which stated that disabled students shouldn’t be invited to a WCA.

She argued that the law required the DWP to conduct a WCA to determine whether she had limited capability for work, in which case she would be entitled to Universal Credit.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (SSWP) Therese Coffey told the court in July 2020 she would not be defending Ms Kauser’s claim.

Now, a High Court judge has ruled that the SSWP had acted unlawfully and has quashed the decision to refuse the student’s claim for Universal Credit.

The student will now be given a WCA, and if she is deemed to be unable to work, she will be entitled to make a claim for Universal Credit, Leigh Day solicitors said.

Furthermore, the court ruling also has an impact on other disabled students whose applications for Universal Credit had previously been unsuccessful due to having been refused a WCA.

Ms Kauser said: “I am glad I decided to take a stand and pursue my claim for judicial review of the DWP decision to refuse me a WCA.

“Hopefully other students will benefit from the court ruling.”

However, on August 5, the law was changed so other disabled students who make a claim for Universal Credit after this date would not be invited to a WCA and would not therefore be able to establish their limited capability for work.

Ms Kauser is represented by Leigh Day solicitor Lucy Cadd.

Ms Cadd said: “Sidra made a brave stand against the decision to refuse her a WCA and it has proved successful.

“It has been estimated by the charity Disability Rights UK that the Secretary of State’s unlawful policy, which has been in operation since 2013, could have adversely affected 30,000 disabled students.

“Other disabled students who were refused a WCA prior to August 5, 2020 and therefore lost out on their claim for Universal Credit, should ask the Secretary of State to revise her decision.

“Although the DWP has callously changed the regulations to prevent more disabled students being entitled to a WCA, there may be scope for legal challenge to the new regulations.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “After considering the outcome of the litigation, the Department will undertake a review of refused claims to Universal Credit made by disabled students prior to the implementation of the new regulations.”

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