The Transitional SDP Element

Who is it for?

If you

  • Were getting Income-Related Employment Support Allowance, Income Support or Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance before you claimed UC, and
  • That benefit included a Severe Disability Premium (SDP) in the month before the date your UC award started,

you might qualify for the Transitional SDP Element in your UC assessment.

This is to compensate for the fact that there is no Severe Disability Premium in UC, so otherwise you would be a lot worse off financially.

But strict rules apply – outlined below.

How much is the Transitional SDP Element?

The Transitional SDP Element is a fixed amount for your first UC Assessment Period – but after that it can be lost due to changes in your circumstance, or eroded (‘eaten into’) when other UC Elements increase or are added.
See ‘How can it be eroded?’ below.

For the first UC monthly Assessment Period, the Transitional SDP Element is a set amount. It can be one of three set rates.
Which rate you get depends on your circumstances.

See the table below:

 Not getting UC LCWRA ElementGetting LCWRA Element
Single People£285.00£120.00
Couples where one member of the couple qualified for SDP in their legacy benefit£285.00£120.00
Couples where a double SDP was included in their legacy benefit£405.00£405.00

Who can get it?

 

Example:
Raluka has been receiving Income Support as a lone parent. Her IS award includes a Severe Disability Premium as she gets daily living PIP. The only other member of her household is her son age four, and no-one gets paid Carers Allowance or gets a Carer Element in an award of UC for looking after her.
When her son turns five her Income Support stops and she makes a claim for Universal Credit.
As she meets the conditions of entitlement for it, her maximum UC amount includes the Transitional SDP Element.

If you claimed UC before 27th January 2021 you can get the Transitional SDP Element if:

  • You were getting Income-Related ESA, Income Support or Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance as the claimant (not partner) before you claimed UC, and
  • That benefit included a Severe Disability Premium (SDP) in the month before the date your UC award started for you, and
  • You shouldn’t have been able to make a claim for UC (because before 27th January 2021 people with an SDP shouldn’t have been able to claim UC – the ‘SDP Gateway condition’) or
  • In some circumstances, you’ve since become entitled to have the SDP added into the IR-ESA, IB-JSA or IS you had before claiming UC (eg because you won an appeal about it, or your claim for PIP was delayed and backdated. Seek advice), and
  • You haven’t changed from single to couple or vice versa, and
  • You still fit the criteria that would have given you the SDP.

If you claimed UC on or after 27th January 2021 you can get the Transitional SDP Element if:

  • You are not becoming the partner of someone who is already on UC (even if they already have a Transitional SDP Element in their UC – in fact this will end when they become a partner with you) and
  • You were getting Income-Related ESA, Income Support, or Income-Based JSA- either as the main claimant or as the partner of the main claimant and
  • That benefit included a Severe Disability Premium for them within in the month before the date your UC award started for you, and
  • You still fit the criteria that would have given you the SDP.

If either you, make a note on your UC journal explaining your situation, asking for the Transitional SDP Element and seek advice from a Benefits Adviser.

Example:
John had been getting PIP daily living, IR-ESA with a SDP, and Housing Benefit. His PIP ended following a review so he no longer qualified for the SDP in his IR-ESA. He challenged the decision to end his PIP.
Six weeks later he moved house to a new Local Authority area so his HB ended and he claimed UC. He made his claim on 15th December 2020.
Shortly after his PIP was reinstated.
That means he could ask the ESA department to add the SDP onto his IR-ESA for the final six weeks of his ESA award before he claimed UC. Once that has been sorted out, he can then write on his UC journal to ask if the Transitional SDP Element can be added.

Who gets a Severe Disability Premium?

The Severe Disability Premium is an element that is included in an award of Income-Related ESA, Income Support or Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance, where the claimant (or their partner) has high care needs (ie getting daily living Personal Independence Payment, middle or high rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, Armed Forces Independence Payment, Constant Attendance Allowance or Attendance Allowance) and no-one gets paid Carers Allowance or gets a Carer Element in their UC award for looking after them and they live alone (ignoring anyone who lives with them and it would be unreasonable to expect them to be providing care).

How can the Transitional SDP Element be eroded?

Every time another Element increases, or a new Element is added, where there is a Transitional SDP Element the total Universal Credit award doesn’t change. Instead the new increase/Element ‘eats into’ the Transitional SDP Element reducing it by the amount of the increase.

The only exception is where the Childcare Costs Element is added or increased – see the Katy example below.

Example
Nelson’s UC award includes the Standard Allowance, the LCWRA Element, Housing Costs and the Transitional SDP Element of £120. He moves home – the rent at his new flat is higher and so his Housing Costs Element increases. But this ‘eats into’ his Transitional SDP Element – so overall his UC remains the same amount and he sees no increase in his UC award.

Example
Katy lives in a two bedroom house with her 8 year old son Jordan. Her UC has included the Transitional SDP Element of £285 since she claimed UC a couple of months ago. Katy has a second child. A second Child Element (£237.08) is added to her maximum UC assessment – but this ‘eats’ into the Transitional SDP Element – reducing it to £47.92. So, although she now has another child to support, the amount of her UC remains the same. 
A few months later, Katy starts work and claims childcare costs – the Childcare Cost Element is included in her UC but this does not reduce the Transitional SDP Element which stays at £47.92.

Can the Transitional SDP Element be lost altogether?

You can lose the Element if;

  • You have a partner and you separate, or
  • You are single and take on a partner, or
  • You come off Universal Credit because you aren’t entitled (apart from due to earnings – see next point), or
  • Your earnings are high enough to mean you can’t get UC for 3 months, or
  • In certain circumstances if you were earning when you claimed UC and now your earnings have reduced – seek advice, or
  • When the amount of the Transitional SDP Element has been eroded (see above) to nothing.