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Severe Disability Premium: All you need to know

  • 14/05/2019
  • Author:anna.stevenson@turn2us.org.uk

Are you owed an SDP back-payment?

wheelchair user in bed

You might have heard people talking about the Severe Disability Premium (SDP) over the past few months. Perhaps you have heard about people getting big back-payments, or you might have seen information in the news about the problems with the severe disability premium and Universal Credit.  But what is the severe disability premium and what does it mean for you?

What is SDP?

Put simply, the Severe Disability Premium is extra money on your income related benefits (JSA, ESA, Income Support or Housing Benefit) to recognise that living alone with a disability can lead to extra costs.

You can only get the Severe Disability Premium if you get an income related benefit and you get the daily living component of PIP, the middle or high rate care component of DLA, Attendance Allowance, or AFIP.

If someone claims Carer’s Allowance for you you can’t get the Severe Disability Premium, and usually you can only get the Severe Disability Premium if you are the only adult in your home (though there are some exceptions to this – read our guide to find out more).

Are you owed a back-payment?

A big group of people who were transferred onto ESA from Incapacity Benefit didn’t get properly assessed for whether they should be getting premiums on their ESA. The DWP is now contacting this group of people to check whether they should have been getting a premium. Because these payments go back several years, some people are getting very large back-payments.

But this isn’t the only group that has been missing out on premiums on their benefits.

Some people have become entitled to it when someone stopped claiming Carer’s Allowance, other people might have forgotten to tell the DWP that someone who was living in their property has moved out.

If you think you might be entitled to the Severe Disability Premium, or you think there are times in the past when you should have been entitled to it, you can contact the office that pays your income related benefit (ESA, JSA, Income Support or Housing Benefit) to ask them to assess you for it.

SDP and Universal Credit

There isn’t any equivalent to the Severe Disability Premium in Universal Credit. Because of this, a court decided that the government’s plans for dealing with people who get the Severe Disability Premium were discriminatory.

Due to this decision the government has stopped allowing people who are entitled to the Severe Disability Premium to claim Universal Credit.

People who are entitled to the Severe Disability Premium can still make new claims for all the benefits that Universal Credit replaces.

Some people who were getting the Severe Disability Premium have already started getting Universal Credit. If they claimed Universal Credit after 16/01/19 they might be able to go back onto their old benefits, but most people in this situation will have to stay on Universal Credit.

The government has agreed that this group of people will be paid extra money to make up for the loss of the Severe Disability Premium. The government had made a decision how much to pay, but a court decided that the government’s plans were not lawful, so at the moment we don’t know how much compensation will be paid to this group or when it will be paid.

For people who are getting the Severe Disability Premium now, at some point in the future they will be moved on to Universal Credit through managed migration, but that probably won’t happen for a while yet.

When they are moved on to Universal Credit they should get extra money in their Universal Credit to make up for the fact that they won’t get the Severe Disability Premium anymore.

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