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 Universal Credit and
  • That benefit included a Severe Disability Premium (SDP) in the month before the date your Universal Credit award started,

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

This is to compensate for the fact that there is no Severe Disability Premium in Universal Credit, 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 Universal Credit Assessment Period – but after that it can be lost due to changes in your circumstance, or eroded (‘eaten into’) when other Universal Credit Elements increase or are added.
See ‘How can it be eroded?’ below.

For the first Universal Credit 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?

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 Universal Credit, and
  • That benefit included a Severe Disability Premium (SDP) in the month before the date your Universal Credit award started for you, and
  • You haven’t changed from single to couple or vice versa, and
  • On the day you made your claim for UC you met the criteria that would have given you the SDP.

Note – if you were receiving the SDP, you should not have been able to claim UC before 27th January 2021 but some mistakes were made. Alternatively, you could have not been receiving the SDP on the date you made your claim for Universal Credit (and so allowed to claim) but a decision made after you claimed (e.g. an appeal to get PIP awarded) could mean that you should now be treated as though you were receiving the SDP and so entitled to the Element.

Example:
John had been getting PIP daily living, IR-ESA with a SDP, and Housing Benefit but 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 Universal Credit. He made his claim on 15th December 2020.
Shortly after his PIP was reinstated as his appeal was successful.
This means he can ask the ESA department to add the SDP onto his IR-ESA for the final six weeks of his ESA award before he claimed Universal Credit. Once that has been sorted out, he can then write on his Universal Credit journal to ask if the Transitional SDP Element can be added.

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 Universal Credit (even if they already have a Transitional SDP Element in their Universal Credit – 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 you within in the month before the date your Universal Credit award started, and
  • You still fit the criteria that would have given you the SDP.

If this applies to you, make a note on your Universal Credit journal explaining your situation and asking for the Transitional SDP Element. You should also seek advice from a Benefits Adviser.

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 Universal Credit 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 Universal Credit amount includes the Transitional SDP Element.

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. Specifically, someone will be entitled to the SDP if –

  • they are 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 Universal Credit award for looking after them, and
  • they live alone (ignoring anyone who lives with them who it would be unreasonable to expect to be providing care – eg dependent children and disabled or elderly non-dependants among others).

How can the Transitional SDP Element be eroded?

When a claimant is receiving the Transitional SDP Element, the addition or increase of another Element (excluding the Childcare Costs Element) will reduce the amount of TSDPE they receive. This means that if the increase to the other Element is less than the amount of TSDPE they were receiving, their UC award will not increase (e.g. if their rent increases by £20, their Housing Costs Element will increase by £20 but if they are receiving a TSDPE, this will decrease by £20 leaving them with the same total amount of Universal Credit). This will happen until their TSDPE is reduced to £0 or is lost altogether (see below).

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

Example
Nelson’s Universal Credit award includes the Standard Allowance, the LCWRA Element, Housing Costs and a Transitional SDP Element of £120. He moves home – the rent at his new flat is higher and so his Housing Costs Element increases by £30. But this ‘eats into’ his Transitional SDP Element which reduces to £90 – so overall his Universal Credit remains the same amount and he sees no increase in his Universal Credit award.
A few months later, Nelson becomes responsible for his niece and has a Child Element of £282.50 included in his Universal Credit award. As this is higher than the amount of TSDPE he is receiving, it will be eroded to £0 and Nelson’s overall Universal Credit award will increase by £192.50 (£282.50-£90).

Example
Katy lives in a two bedroom house with her 8 year old son Jordan. Her Universal Credit has included the Transitional SDP Element of £285 since she claimed Universal Credit a couple of months ago. Katy has a second child. A second Child Element (£237.08) is added to her maximum Universal Credit 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 Universal Credit remains the same. 
A few months later, Katy starts work and claims childcare costs – the Childcare Cost Element is included in her Universal Credit 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 Universal Credit for 3 months, or
  • In certain circumstances if you were earning when you claimed Universal Credit and now your earnings have reduced – seek advice, or
  • When the amount of the Transitional SDP Element has been eroded (see above) to nothing.