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Write to your MP: Please Increase Legacy Benefits

It’s been 6 months since the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) increased Universal Credit by £20 a week but failed to give the same increase to those on legacy benefits, including Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support and Jobseeker’s Allowance.

In November, the Government will decide the new rates for benefits for the next financial year. Now is our opportunity to make sure Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP doesn’t let over two million people go without the £20 per week increase for another year.

This call, started by the Disability Benefits Consortium (made up of over 100 disability organisations) is backed by over 119,000 members of the public and has also been called for by the Work and Pensions Select Committee and the Social Security Advisory Committee.

Ask your MP to back the call too.

If you receive ESA/JSA or Income Support please edit the below letter to explain what life is like on social security, what impact the pandemic has had for you and the impact the £20 would have for you.

It's really easy

1. Go to this link and enter your postcode. Scroll down to find ‘Your MP’, click on their name.

2. Copy and paste the below template into the message box. Then edit to make it personal by changing some of our sample text, and add in your experience – this is crucial as the platform will block any messages that are identical to others. See our tips below.

3. Add your address details (this is important so they know you are in their constituency, and do make sure you double check your email address is right so you can see if they reply). Then click for the preview, double check the message and send!

Tips for sharing your experience

  • It is crucial that you edit the text & add your own experience for this to work.
  • If you feel comfortable, perhaps include:
    • What does your household look like? Do you have children?
    • How long have you been on this benefit? Are you working or unemployed? How has the pandemic impacted you?
    • Are you managing to afford the rent, other bills and essentials?
    • What are your concerns about the future?
  • Politicians are very concerned about impact on children, on debt, getting behind on rent and bills, and health, so do share anything related to those if you feel comfortable.  
  • Do be polite – even if it is tempting not to be! We want them to support the cause.
 

Letter to MP template

Dear [MP]

As your constituent, I am asking you to write to the Chancellor to ask for an uplift to legacy benefits to match the £20 per week increase that Universal Credit claimants have seen. This call, started by the Disability Benefits Consortium (made up of over 100 disability organisations) is backed by over 119,000 members of the public and has also been called for by the Work and Pensions Select Committee and the Social Security Advisory Committee.

By not providing a corresponding uplift to legacy benefits, over 2 million people have been left to face increased costs during the pandemic without this extra support, many having to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families. A DBC survey showed that disabled people and those with long-term conditions have, and continue to face, higher costs in their day-to-day lives. This includes daily tasks such as safely accessing food, receiving care and getting to and from medical appointments among other things. These costs have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Department for Work and Pensions has so far refused to provide this increase, citing issues with the older computer systems that legacy benefits use, as well as suggesting that the UC uplift was a ‘windfall’ for new claimants.

Now is the time to make this right, because in November the Government will decide the new rates for benefits for the next financial year. 

With no immediate end in sight to this pandemic, it is only fair and reasonable to provide the same level of support to those on legacy benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support and Jobseeker’s Allowance, who face additional costs during this period as to those who are claiming Universal Credit. It would be unthinkable not to.

Thank you for your continued hard work at this challenging time.

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