Millions of Universal Credit claimants could receive a free £774 cash boost.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) could be forced to pay out millions of pounds to claimants after it was taken to court over its actions during Covid restrictions.

The DWP gave Universal Credit claimants a temporary £20 boost for each week during 18 months of the pandemic.

However, some claimants who were on legacy benefits and had not yet been switched over to Universal Credit were not handed the boost.

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The Court of Appeal heard that this classed as “unlawful discrimination”, The Mirror reported, as most people on legacy benefits are sick or disabled.

In February the High Court rejected claimants’ claims, so the Court of Appeal is now hearing the case based on the final nine months of the 18-month policy.

The DWP had argued that it was impossible to boost legacy benefits at the same time as Universal Credit because of old computer systems.

The DWP’s barrister also said the policy was “clearly lawful”, saying: “Legacy benefit claimants were entitled, and have always been entitled, to claim Universal Credit.

“If they wish to have the advantage of the Universal Credit system, including the payment levels, they can simply claim it."

The Court of Appeal is expected to give its ruling in the next few weeks or months.

DWP and Universal Credit payments over Christmas

The DWP has confirmed that all payments due on Monday, December 26 will be brought forward to Friday, December 23. All payments due on Tuesday, December 27 will also be paid on December 23.

Meanwhile, Universal Credit payments due on Wednesday, December 28 will be paid that day as normal. All other payments scheduled for this date be paid on Friday, December 23.

DWP payments over New Year

Payments scheduled to be made on Monday, January 2 will be paid on Friday, December 30.

All payments scheduled for Tuesday, January 3 will be paid as normal. This is different in Scotland where payments will be paid on Friday, December 30.