Severe Disability Premiums
What is the severe disability premium and what does it mean for you?
You might have heard people talking about the Severe Disability Premium 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?
People claiming a disability benefit can qualify for an extra allowance called a 'severe disability premium'. Put simply, the Severe Disability Premium is extra money on your income related benefits to recognise that living alone with a disability can lead to extra costs.
An SDP is a premium paid within Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and Housing Benefit.
You will qualify for an SDP if:
- Attendance Allowance (or Constant Attendance Allowance paid with Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or War Pension)
- Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate
- Personal Independence Payment daily living component
- Adult Disability Payment (Scotland) daily living component
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
No one aged 18 or over lives with you
No one is paid Carer's Allowance, or has been awarded the carer element in their Universal Credit claim for looking after you.
Some people have become entitled to an SDP 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.
Moving to Universal Credit
Universal Credit is replacing legacy benefits.
Managed migration is the name of the government’s plan to move all existing benefit claimants with no change of circumstance over to UC. Natural migration is if you have a change in circumstances that prompts a new claim to Universal Credit.
Managed Migration is the name of the government’s plan to move all existing benefit claimants with no change of circumstance over to UC - people getting legacy benefits will have their claims transferred to Universal Credit. Managed migration is expected to be completed by March 2025 for most people. (People who get ESA and do not get tax credits are going to be moved to Universal Credit a bit later - they will be moved over by 2028.)
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will write to you when they want to move you to Universal Credit telling you what you need to do.
Some clients moving to Universal Credit may end up getting less money than they had been receiving on legacy benefits. The DWP has said that these clients will get some 'transitional protection' which will ‘top up’ their UC to the level of their legacy benefits. If you move to Universal Credit under managed migration, the DWP will include the SDP as part of your entitlement to legacy benefits even if you only got it with Housing Benefit.
This type of protection is only available for managed migration and anyone who moves to UC via ‘natural migration’ will not have their UC topped up.
Natural Migration is if you have a change in circumstances that prompts a new claim to Universal Credit. For example:
- If you separate from your partner
- If you’ve moved home or your partner moves in
- Changes to do with your children
- If your work situation has changed
- If you have a partner and the older partner reaches State Pension age
An additional type of transitional protection is available to some disabled clients who naturally migrate to UC. It is only available to claimants who had a severe disability premium (SDP) in their legacy benefits at the time of migration and it is paid at a set amount.
So, 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 should contact the office that pays your income related benefit (ESA, JSA, Income Support or Housing Benefit) to ask them to assess you for it. This will ultimately ensure you maximise your income when you're moved to Universal Credit!