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Disabled could be £2,800 a year worse off under universal credit, think tank finds

THOUSANDS of disabled people are poorer under universal credit (UC), according to a Resolution Foundation report.

The think tank found that single people with a long-term disability that stops them working could end up £2,800 a year worse off under UC, as opposed to claiming under the legacy system.

The report also said that by 2028, the total entitlements to UC would cost around £86 billion a year — £14bn less than if the government had kept the 2013/14 benefits system.

It added that 71 per cent of families eligible for benefits were worse off in real terms under UC this year, compared with how they would have been under the old system. 

According to the research, working families in rented accommodation benefited the most from the transfer to UC.

Alex Clegg, economist at the Resolution Foundation, said that the working-age benefit system is less generous since it was introduced in 2013 and Britain “faces new challenges from an older and sicker population.

He said: “Compared to the old system, universal credit offers greater support for renters and stronger incentives to enter work.

“But its original design did not anticipate there being over two million claimants with poor health or disabilities.

Disabled People Against Cuts co-founder Linda Burnip said: “How a vicious cut to an income of £2,800 a year — £54 a week — can be justified is simply staggering. It will lead to further physical and mental health-related conditions, even greater impoverishment and potentially more unnecessary deaths.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “Work is the best path to long-term financial security and through universal credit, our £2.5 billion Back to Work Plan will help over a million people – including those with long-term health conditions – find, stay and succeed in work.”

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