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UC claimants set to lose out on Severe Disability Premium money

15 October 2020

The Severe Disability Premium (SDP) is now a part of Universal Credit (UC) – a move which will see it eroded in relation to other benefits.

Before the change, which came into effect last week, the payment was ringfenced and separate from other benefits. Under the new policy, if a claimant’s universal credit entitlement increases, for example, if their rent goes up, or their condition becomes worse,  the transitional SDP element, which is worth between £120 and £405 a month, will decrease accordingly.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson told The Independent: “We are committed to supporting the most vulnerable in society and spend a record £95bn a year on our welfare system.

“The vast majority of claimants are better off on Universal Credit including around one million disabled claimants before any transitional protection or payments are considered.”

DR UK CEO Kamran Mallick said: “It is not enough to say that ‘most’ people are better off on UC. The system needs to work for all people in need. Life for disabled people comes at a cost premium as it is. When Universal Credit was introduced, claimants were assured they would not be worse off. Indeed, DWP advisors on the local level still claim this. The reality is, disabled people are worse off. Many are several hundred pounds worse off every month. It is absolutely perverse that when life circumstances change and they are out of the control of the UC recipient, they are penalised for those changes by a reduction in SDP. The government must reverse this change and ringfence SDP for all those affected.”

SDP was removed completely from UC claimants back in 2018, and was only reinstated due to a High Court ruling. Since July 2019, claimants from before January who were moved onto UC could receive ringfenced SDP. This has now stopped.