Universal Credit is the government's flagship benefit policy. It is replacing a range of means-tested benefits including jobseeker's allowance, housing benefit, tax credits and employment support allowance.
If the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) deem someone to be 'gainfully self-employed' they assume a monthly income from the claimant's self-employment based on the national minimum wage irrespective of their actual earnings. This assumed income is known as the Minimum Income Floor (MIF).
The effect of this is to penalise particularly those with variable and irregular earnings, such as entertainers, creating hardship and removing the welfare safety net which was available under the old system. In many cases, it also leaves the self-employed far worse off than would be the case for the employed with comparable income.
We have been lobbying for years along with other unions and organisations to have the MIF abolished and we are therefore very pleased to be able to support our member and work with Leigh Day solicitors in launching a challenge in the High Court to this misguided and punitive policy. At the time of writing, Leigh Day are preparing to issue Judicial Review proceedings to challenge the MIF as being both disproportionate and irrational.
Please see the links below for more information on this story — there has already been extensive press coverage and more is to follow over the coming weeks.
We urge Equity members to support this hugely important challenge and to let us know if you have been affected by the Minimum Income Floor by contacting email@example.com.
- The Mirror: Universal Credit mum in High Court fight after benefit leaves her £8.98 for a month
- Daily Mail: Mother-of-two, 34, launches a High Court battle against Universal Credit and claims it discriminates against the self-employed after she was left with just £8.98 for a month'
- ITV News: Sussex mother takes Universal Credit fight to High Court
Everything you need to know about Universal Credit, a means-tested, tax-free social security payment.