Severe Disability Premium: All You Need To Know

Are you owed an SDP back-payment?

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?

Wheelchair user

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) A guide .

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.

Source: Turn2us

Three new criticisms of the DWP

“A target-driven culture created perverse incentives” – I think we can agree with this recent article from charity Turn2us relating to a report by the National Audit Office.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are letting down disabled people who want to get back into work, overworking their Jobcentre work coaches and being too target driven, according to a new report by the National Audit Office (NAO).

The report highlights three significant failures with the DWP and Universal Credit that need to be fixed.

jobcentre plus

Disabled people and work

Firstly, the report finds that the Government’s goal of getting 1 million more disabled people into work cannot actually be used to measure the success of its efforts as it cannot be linked to any specific policy.

Additionally, factors such as people who are already in work now reporting a disability may skew the figures. The NAO says this target means the Government cannot be held to account.

Before this target of 1 million, the Government’s original goal was to halve the disability employment gap. That gap has actually only narrowed by 4 percentage points since 2015.

Overworking Jobcentre staff

The second main finding from the NAO report was that work coaches are at risk of being severely overworked which affects the quality of the service.

While some work coaches are already saying they are overworked, the number of claimants they each work with is expected to more than double from 130 to 280 over the next few years.

Within this, the number of claimants per work coach in the intensive work search group (who require the most time with work coaches) is expected to increase from 96 to 133 (an increase of 39%).

Overly target driven

Finally, the report highlights that the DWP has created a target-driven culture which results in perverse incentives, according to the NAO.

Work coaches were often focusing on claimants who were easiest to help into work, so they could meet there targets, rather than focus on those who need help the most.

Work coaches were also happy to get people into temporary employment to meet targets instead of getting them long term and meaningful employment.

Read the full NAO report