Details have finally been published about refunds due to claimants who have moved to Universal Credit and lost their Severe Disability Premium (SDP). Steven, our Money Advice Officer, explains what this means and how to make sure you get what you’re due.
What is the SDP?
The SDP was an extra amount paid to disabled benefit claimants who met certain conditions. The main conditions were that that they received a qualifying rate of disability benefit, they either lived alone or all other adults in the property also received a qualifying rate of disability benefit, and nobody was being paid Carer’s Allowance for looking after them. The qualifying disability benefits were the middle or high rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance, the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance, Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance or Armed Forces Independence Payment.
Why did people lose the SDP?
The SDP was abolished when Universal Credit was first introduced so anyone who had a change of circumstances which meant they had to claim Universal Credit was not paid the premium, even if they still met all the main criteria for it.
Following mounting pressure, the Government announced in 2018 that it would refund claimants who had lost out on the SDP and prevent anyone already getting the SDP from moving onto Universal Credit. The law was changed in January 2019 to stop SDP claimants moving over to Universal Credit. New Regulations have just been laid allowing a refund to those who had already lost out before this time.
Who can get a refund?
The Regulations set very strict criteria for getting a refund and all the conditions must be met to be eligible. The conditions are that the claimant must have:
Already moved onto Universal Credit,
Lost the Severe Disability Premium in an award of Income-Related Employment & Support Allowance, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support which ended within one month of the Universal Credit claim starting
Received Universal Credit continuously since this time and still be receiving it when the DWP review their claim
Not become a couple or separated since moving onto Universal Credit
Been continuously receiving a qualifying disability benefit (see above)
Not had a carer being paid Carer’s Allowance or a Carer Element in their own Universal Credit for looking after them
How is the refund paid?
If the DWP accept that a claimant is entitled to a refund, they will be paid a lump sum to compensate for however long they have lost out on the SDP, plus an extra amount of Universal Credit each month for as long as they meet the entitlement conditions above. The amount is calculated based on a monthly figure of £120, £285 or £405, depending on the circumstances.
Points to note
The Regulations say the refund will only be awarded if all the above conditions are met on the date their case comes to the attention of the DWP. It is therefore advisable to notify the DWP immediately if you think you might qualify for a refund, otherwise if there are any changes in your circumstances before the DWP gets around to your case you may lose out on it entirely. I would urge you to put a note on your online Journal straight away.
Any Warrington Housing Association residents who need help dealing with this complicated issue should contact me for further advice. Otherwise, you can use the Turn2Us Find an Adviser search to locate an agency that can help.