Today (Wednesday) as the Royal Court of Justice starts hearing a case against the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF), a TUC-backed film – in which severely disabled people explain how the fund has helped them – is being distributed online.
A judicial review brought by three disabled people is being heard today and tomorrow. They argue that the government has breached the Public Sector Equality Duty by failing to consult organisations and individuals over the decision to close the fund
Dispatches on 4 on Demand. Watch Dispatches online when you want on 4oD. Dispatches investigates a £13 billion revolution taking place on Britain's benefit streets. The government says it will change our welfare system forever and plans to roll it out soon to millions of us across the country.
Already thousands of people in a handful of towns are being put on the brand new benefit known as Universal Credit, which brings together half a dozen working-age benefits and is meant to slash costs, reduce fraud and help claimants back to work.
Liz MacKean reports from Warrington, where claimants have been trying out the new benefit for a year. It's meant to simplify claims and offer seamless support to people moving in and out of short-term and low-paid work.
Dispatches meets some claimants who say the new system, far from simplifying things for them, has been making basic errors and leaving them at risk of losing their homes or having to choose between paying the rent or feeding their children.
It took three months for Universal Credit staff to process one couple's claim, and they ended up with over £2000 of debt. Nicky, who is pregnant, tells Dispatches that some days she goes without so that she can make sure her four-year-old is properly fed.
Liz also hears from staff working inside the benefits office who believe the flagship scheme is failing badly. Dispatches hears that the IT system is unworkable, staff training is out of date and that they are falling behind in processing new claims.