First the Government announced it is going to change the law to exempt all carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance from the benefit cap.
Next, appeal court judges ruled that the Government’s controversial bedroom tax discriminates unlawfully against disabled children.
And then the Government suffered a crushing defeat in the House of Lords over its plans to cut future support for hundreds of thousands of disabled people found “not fit for work”.
Carers UK has campaigned for changes to the benefit cap rules since the policy was first announced in 2010, highlighting the iniquity of further reducing the incomes of carers who already contribute so much to society.
The charity’s chief executive Heléna Herklots said: “This is a significant victory for carers and carers’ rights. By changing the law to exempt carers who receive Carer’s Allowance from the benefit cap, the Government has shown that it recognises both the valuable contribution that carers make to society and that the benefit cap unfairly penalises carers – many of whom are already facing significant financial hardship as a result of their caring role.
“The Government’s response goes one step further than complying with the recent High Court judgment, by exempting all carers on Carer’s Allowance from the policy. It will be welcomed by those carers who are currently affected by the cap, as well as those who were at risk of being affected when the cap is lowered later this year.”
Meanwhile, Richard Kramer, deputy chief executive of deafblind charity Sense, also expressed delight over the appeal court’s bedroom tax ruling.
He said: “This judgement is a great victory for many families. Parents tell us that they need extra space to store disability-related equipment or to accommodate carers.”
Judges had heard that Paul and Susan Rutherford had been found to be “under-occupying” their home and had their housing benefit cut by 14%, even though their 15-year-old grandson, who lives with them, needs 24-hour care from at least two people at a time.
Although the rules allow for an extra bedroom if an adult claimant or their partner needs overnight care, this does not apply to families with a disabled child.
The Department for Work and Pensions has been given permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Government also suffered a crushing defeat in the House of Lords over its plans to cut future support for hundreds of thousands of disabled people found “not fit for work”.
Although the Government is likely to reintroduce the measure when the bill returns to the House of Commons, the vote is a fresh blow to work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith.
His proposals would see new claimants of employment and support allowance (ESA) who are placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG) see their weekly payments drop by nearly £30 a week.