Universal credit is in full-blown crisis, from cross-party criticism of its inbuilt six-week delay to a symbolic government defeat in the Commons over pausing its rollout. But one of the policy’s most shameful parts is barely being noticed: the hidden cut being forced on some of Britain’s most severely disabled people.
Philip, 41, who has multiple mental and physical health problems – including severe anxiety and depression – knows it all too well. An injury in his 30s severely damaged his left foot and he can only move on crutches.
He medically retired as a roadsweeper in 2011 and before universal credit came in he was getting by on a patchwork of disability benefits. The titles – employment and support allowance (ESA), enhanced disability premium (EDP), and severe disability premium (SDP) – sound like government jargon, but to Philip they were his lifelines.
Under “welfare reform”, lifelines can be…
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