In January 2019 the government introduced a new rule that protects certain disabled claimants from having to claim Universal Credit.
Instead, for the time being, they can stay on or make new claims for any of the ‘legacy benefits’.
How does the Severe Disability Premium Gateway Condition work?
If you are getting the ‘Severe Disability Premium’ in an existing or recent benefit award and you continue to meet the qualifying conditions for it, you may not be able to make a new claim for Universal Credit.
Instead you can stay on the legacy benefit system until you are told you have to claim Universal Credit. You may then be entitled to some ‘transitional protection’.
What is the Severe Disability Premium?
The Severe Disability Premium is not a benefit in its own right – but an addition that is included when an award for Income-Related ESA, Income-Based JSA, Income Support or Housing Benefit is assessed. It is given to claimants with a recognised need for care but who have no-one caring for, or who could be expected to care, for them.
Why were these rules introduced?
These rules were introduced because there is no equivalent extra money in Universal Credit. So, where someone getting the Severe Disability Premium (SDP) had a change in their circumstances that triggered the need to claim Universal Credit, but would not have meant the loss of the SDP, they would have lost a significant amount of income.
So this ‘Gateway Rule’ says that anyone who is in the following situations will not be able to make a new claim for Universal Credit:
- They have the Severe Disability Premium included in their Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support or Housing Benefit award.
- They have had it included in a claim for one of these benefits in the past month and have continued to meet the qualifying conditions for it ever since.
- They still meet the qualifying conditions for it after having the change in circumstances that is triggering the need to claim extra help.
If this applies to you then you will be able to remain on, or make a new claim for, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Tax Credits or Housing Benefit – and so will retain your Severe Disability Premium.
How do I know if I am getting the Severe Disability Premium?
Look on your benefit award letters to see if it includes the Severe Disability Premium – sometimes called ‘extra money because you are severely disabled’. If you’re not sure contact a benefits adviser.
The Severe Disability Premium is an amount (£66.95in 202021) which should be included when someone’s Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support or Housing Benefit is assessed where all three of these situations apply:
- They are getting Daily Living Personal Independence Payment, mid or high rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, Armed Forces Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance,
- No-one gets paid Carers Allowance or has the Carer Element included in an award of Universal Credit for looking after them,
- They either live alone or are treated as living alone – ie certain household members are ignored such as dependent children, other household members getting one of the benefits listed above, and lodgers.
If you are not sure whether you are getting the Severe Disability Premium included when your benefits are assessed – or whether you are entitled to it (and many people do miss out on this addition) – then contact a benefits adviser or ask us for help.
IMPORTANT: If you are not currently getting the Severe Disability Premium but are having a change in your circumstances, check whether you are now entitled to it before you make a claim for Universal Credit.