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It's U not me

November 01 2020

Universal Credit (UC) slammed for being unworkable by judge reports Jake Cudsi

As the wider population familiarises itself with Universal Credit (UC), many of the Pavement readers will understand the plight of one claimant, who lost up to £463 a month because of how UC calculated her payments. She was then forced to use food banks.

Now 41-year-old care worker Sharon Pantellerisco, with the backing of Child Poverty Action Group, has won a landmark high court case against the Department for Work and Pensions, the government department responsible for UC.

Ruling in Pantellerisco’s favour Mr Justice Garnham, said she had been unlawfully denied the benefits she was entitled to by UC’s “irrational” calculations. Justice Garnham found the DWP treated Pantellerisco as if she were out of work, despite her 16-hours a week role as a care worker. UC’s calculations could also not compute Pantellerisco’s four-weekly pay cycle, as UC guidelines for assessing claims calculate earnings over a calendar month.
Long-suffering UC claimants might be tempted to think the high court’s latest ruling could be a watershed moment. We certainly hope so. But a DWP spokesperson maintained: “Universal Credit adapts to your personal circumstances, and the vast majority of claimants are better off on it.”