High court rules applying benefit cap to lone parents with children under two is unlawful

Mr Justice Collins ruled that the application of the revised benefit cap to lone parents, with children under two, amounts to unlawful discrimination and that “real damage” is being caused to the claimants and families like theirs across the country.

More about the benefit cap

Upon considering the impact of the benefit cap, Mr Justice Collins concluded that “real misery is being caused to no good purpose.”

The challenge was brought by four lone parent families. You can find out more about the decision on the Hopkin Murray Beskine website and the Garden Court Chambers website

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said:

“We are disappointed with the decision and intend to appeal. Work is the best way to raise living standards, and many parents with young children are employed.

The benefit cap incentivises work, even if it’s part-time, as anyone eligible for working tax credits or the equivalent under Universal Credit, is exempt. Even with the cap, lone parents can still receive benefits up to the equivalent salary of £25,000, or £29,000 in London and we have made Discretionary Housing Payments available to people who need extra help.”

A previous High Court decision Hurley and others v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions found that the benefit cap was unlawful because it discriminated against those entitled to Carers Allowance who provide care to relatives such as a parent or grandparent, or a disabled child aged 18 or over. As a result of that decision the law was changed.

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