This is the biggest public health emergency in a generation, and I am pleased that the Government has committed to supporting people through this difficult time with an unprecedent package of support. This includes an injection of around £9.3 billion into the welfare system, in order to ensure the most vulnerable people in our society are supported through the pandemic.
The Government has delivered a suite of measures that can be quickly and effectively put into action, and digital systems like Universal Credit (UC) can be changed more easily to this effect. Moreover, the Government is rightly focussing its efforts on those facing the most financial disruption during the pandemic, and most new claimants will be receiving UC.
Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for UC if they believe they will be better off, although legacy benefits will end when they submit their claim, and they will not be able to return to them in future. I would therefore strongly encourage all claimants on legacy benefits to check their eligibility before applying for UC.
I know that this is an especially difficult time for many people with disabilities, and it is worth noting that there are special arrangements in place for those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium, who are now able to make a new claim for UC.
It is also important to add that people on legacy benefits may also have benefitted from other support, such as mortgage holidays, the income protection schemes, and the increase in Local Housing Allowance rates.