MILLIONS of people on legacy benefits could get backdated payments worth £720 as a legal case returns to court.
Four claimants on legacy benefits have had their case against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) heard this week.
The claimants argue they should get back payments for extra help they did not receive during the Covid crisis.
A £20 a week uplift was given out through the pandemic to help millions on Universal Credit.
But nearly two million struggling households still on the legacy benefits system were excluded from getting this help.
Those claiming benefits such as personal independence payments (PIP) or employment support allowance (ESA) and disabled people were among those left out of pocket.
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The claimants argued in court that the treatment was unfair and that they should get the equivalent cash – but they lost the case in February this year.
The DWP argued that it wasn't as easy to raise legacy benefits as fast as Universal Credit because of the old computer systems used.
Now the legal team – Osbornes Law – who are battling it out against the DWP on behalf of those claimants have returned to court to appeal that decision.
Lawyers have now taken that on board and submitted a slimmed down appeal.
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It is asking judges to rule the policy was unlawful in its last nine months from January 8, 2021 – rather than the whole 18 months.
If the case is successful, the DWP would have to make amends, but there are several ways it can do this.
As The Sun previously reported, one option is in the form of a back payment for those affected,
The shorter time period in the appeal means that millions of people on legacy benefits could get £720 in backdated payments.
This is based on the £20 a week for 36 weeks (nine months).
But, there is no guarantee of a payout and it could be weeks or even months before Appeal judges make a decision.
And even if the case is successful you shouldn't expect anything soon as the decision could still be appealed by the DWP.
Plus any decision over how the DWP will make amends will take time.
A spokesperson for Osbornes Law said: "Whilst the claimants in this case are willing to accept that initially in March 2020 there were technical issues that made applying the £20 per week uplift to those on legacy benefits challenging, we do not accept that this reason justified the ongoing difference in treatment for the duration of the uplift period.
"As further evidence came to light, it became clear that those on legacy benefits were the hardest hit by the pandemic, but no measures were taken by the government to assist them."
A DWP spokesperson said: “We are awaiting the decision of the Court.
"The temporary £20 uplift ensured vital support was given to those facing the most financial disruption during the Covid pandemic.”
Can I get benefits backdated?
It is possible to get some benefits backdated if you found out you’ve missed out on claiming for them.
It depends on which benefit you’re making a claim for, as different benefits have different rules for back payment.
But a claim for attendance allowance cannot be backdated.
The date of your claim will be the date you call and ask for a claim form – as long as you complete and return it within the time given.
If you download a claim form, it will be the date your completed claim form is received.
An estimated £13billion worth of benefits are going unclaimed including child benefit and help with council tax bills.
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