Severe Disability Premium | April 2024

Severe Disability Premium is a financial support which is available in the UK for individuals with severe disabilities. 

It is an additional payment that can make a significant difference in the lives of those who qualify, offering necessary financial help to manage their circumstances.

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Introduction to Severe Disability Premium

The Severe Disability Premium is designed to provide extra financial help to those who are severely disabled and are already receiving specific benefits. 

It is an additional amount that individuals can receive on top of income support, employment and support allowance (ESA), and housing benefit.

This makes it an essential part of the UK’s social security system, aiming to support the additional costs of living with severe disability. 

It is important to note that unlike other disability premiums, such as enhanced premiums, the Severe Disability Premium has a highly specific eligibility criteria.

It is necessary that claims are made through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or local authorities.

Depending on individual circumstances, the amount received varies. In 2022/23, the maximum weekly rate is £69.40 for a single person and £138.80 for a couple where both qualify.

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Severe Disability Premium Explained

The Severe Disability Premium is a top-up to certain benefits, including support allowance, constant attendance allowance, income-related ESA, and disability living allowance. 

It is also dependent on income-related employment, industrial injuries disablement benefit, and constant attendance allowance

Being a part of the universal credit system, this premium is closely related to income support, employment and support allowance (ESA), and housing benefit. If you claim universal credit, and are severely disabled, it is worth looking into as an additional top-up. 

Furthermore, it is also connected to carer’s allowance and war pension, making it a comprehensive financial support system for individuals with disabilities.

The Severe Disability Premium rules are complex with strict eligibility criteria. This means that individuals are highly advised to source assistance from benefits experts before applying. 

Charities including Disability Rights UK and Citizens Advice offer specialist helplines to talk through individual circumstances.

Eligibility Criteria for Severe Disability Premium

The eligibility criteria for Severe Disability Premium is highly specific. Individuals must be receiving one of the following qualifying benefits: support allowance ESA, income-related employment, disability living allowance, or personal independence payment (PIP). 

Anyone living with the application must not be a carer or a close relative who is claiming carer’s allowance or universal credit (carers element). 

Another necessary eligibility factor includes meeting immigration and residency requirements. To qualify, it is essential that individuals have lived in the UK for at least 2 of the last 3 years. There are also additional rules on savings and capital limits.

In addition, individuals who are registered blind, or are receiving an armed forces independence payment, could also qualify. 

Importantly, claimants must not be in receipt of the carer’s element of universal credit, or have anyone who is claiming carers allowance for looking after them.

Introduction to Severe Disability Premium

How to Apply for Severe Disability Premium

If currently receiving a qualifying disability benefit, individuals can apply by:

  • Contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to apply for Income Support, income-related ESA or Universal Credit. If eligible, the Severe Disability Premium will be included automatically.
  • Informing the local authority housing benefit team, who will then update the claim if you are eligible.
  • Contact the pension service if receiving Pension Credit. They will update the claim.

When applying for a new benefit like PIP, individuals should ensure they mention eligibility for the premium so it can be included if appropriate. 

If you’re claiming universal credit (UC), the Severe Disability Premium will be included in your UC award if you’re eligible. When applying, advice from Citizens Advice, disability charities or benefits experts is highly advisable.

"The Severe Disability Premium is designed to provide extra financial help to those who are severely disabled and are already receiving specific benefits."

Implications and Benefits of Severe Disability Premium

The Severe Disability Premium can make a significant difference to people with severe disabilities, providing additional financial support to help them cover the extra costs associated with severe disability. 

This can include things like specialist equipment, additional heating costs, or extra transport needs.

Receiving this premium can also impact other benefits. For instance, it can increase the amount you’re eligible to receive from other benefits, such as pension credit. 

However, it is important to remember that every situation is unique, the exact implications will vary depending on individual circumstances. Benefits interact in different ways, meaning it’s always best to consult a professional should you wish to change them.

The Importance of Income-Related ESA

Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA) plays a crucial role in the eligibility criteria for the Severe Disability Premium, offering a type of ESA which is designed to help those who are unable to work due to disability or health conditions. 

Those who receive income-related ESA could potentially also be entitled to the Severe Disability Premium, as it is a qualifying benefit. 

Alternatively, not everyone who receives income-related ESA will automatically be eligible for the Severe Disability Premium.

There are other criteria to meet, such as not living with a close relative who is claiming Carer’s Allowance or the carer element of Universal Credit. 

The relationship between the Severe Disability Premium and income-related ESA can be complex, always making it worth seeking expert advice to understand your individual situation. 

Understanding Constant Attendance Allowance Paid

Constant Attendance Allowance is another benefit that can affect eligibility for the Severe Disability Premium. This is an allowance that is paid to those who need daily care and attention due to a disability. 

If you’re receiving Constant Attendance Allowance, you could be eligible for the Severe Disability Premium. As with income-related ESA, however, it is necessary to meet other criteria.

The Severe Disability Premium and Constant Attendance Allowance are separate payments, as they are calculated and paid separately. Therefore, receiving one will not automatically mean you are entitled to the other.

Eligibility Criteria for Severe Disability Premium

Making a Universal Credit Claim

When making a UC claim, individuals currently getting the Severe Disability Premium could lose their entitlement to the premium.

This is because Universal Credit does not include the Severe Disability Premium.

Before applying for Universal Credit, it is necessary that individuals who may be affected should seek expert advice. 

To support the navigation of this complex area, charities like Citizens Advice or specialist disability benefits advisers will provide guidance.

Ideally, the government would protect existing recipients of the Severe Disability Premium if they decide to move onto Universal Credit. However, this protection does not currently exist. Losing this vital additional income can cause severe hardship for disabled people.

In my personal view, the interaction between Universal Credit and the Severe Disability Premium is an area that could benefit from further clarification. 

It’s a complicated area, although it is necessary that those affected receive clear, accessible information to make informed choices.

What is the PIP Daily Living Component?

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) daily living component is another factor that can affect eligibility for the Severe Disability Premium. 

This is a benefit which is paid to people who need help with daily living activities, or have mobility needs due to physical or mental health and/or disability.

It is paid at two rates which are standard or enhanced. In order to qualify for the Severe Disability Premium, it is necessary that individuals are receiving the enhanced rate daily living component of PIP.

So although a crucial potential qualifying benefit, receiving the standard rate daily living component of PIP does not lead to automatic entitlement to the premium. Rather, only the enhanced rate can help qualify for this extra payment.

Furthermore, when claiming PIP, individuals should make sure that they communicate their full care and mobility needs, allowing them to maximise their entitlement. 

As around a third of PIP decisions are overturned, sourcing advice and appealing incorrectly refused claims is essential.

Joining a Support Group

For those navigating the complexities of benefits like the Severe Disability Premium, joining a support group could be beneficial. Support groups work to provide valuable advice, sharing experiences and offering emotional support. 

They can also help to clarify the intricacies of the benefits system, including how different benefits interact with each other.

A support group might be able to provide advice on topics such as making a Universal Credit claim or understanding the PIP daily living component. 

For those dealing with the challenges of living alone and managing separate payments for different benefits, they can provide additional support.

However, it is important to remember that although support groups can provide valuable advice and support, they should not replace professional advice. The more complex the issue, the more necessary it is to consult a professional. 

Support groups offer a space for individuals to share experiences, advice, and provide mutual support.

This can be particularly beneficial when navigating the complexities of the benefits system. Thus, they are particularly invaluable to those who are struggling the most.

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