Major Benefits Change By The DWP Prompts Warnings For 500,000 Disabled People

Major Benefits Change By The DWP Prompts Warnings For 500,000 Disabled People. image: Pixabay

Major Benefits Change By The DWP Prompts Warnings For 500,000 Disabled People.

A two-year ban on severely disabled benefit claimants being moved to Universal Credit is no longer valid from today. UK Charities have raised fears for 500,000 disabled people as the major change to benefit rules kicks in.

Government Ministers have lifted a two-year ban on people who were eligible to claim ‘Severe Disability Premiums’ when moving to Universal Credit. This now means that people on the old-style benefits can now choose to move to the new UC if they want to.

However, there are concerns that some will also be moved without choosing to if they have had a “change of circumstances”, like moving house or if they have moved in or out of a relationship. Charities say some people may end up worse off in the change – despite ministers insisting that the vast majority will benefit.

SDP claimants who move to UC get monthly transition payments of £120, £285 or £405 – but these will be eroded over time. This payment will be eroded away if a claimant is awarded a new or larger element of any part of their UC, not including childcare. That suggests many will find it difficult to work out for sure how much money they will receive into the future.

Louise Rubin of the charity Scope said the “poorly-timed change” mid-lockdown would cause “anxiety and uncertainty” for some of Britain’s most vulnerable people. She added: “Disability premiums aren’t a luxury, they help cover the extra costs disabled people face.

“They should never have been cut out of the welfare system under Universal Credit. Many who are shielding at home and facing spiralling energy costs now face the permanent threat of their vital premiums being eroded. With disabled people bearing the brunt of the pandemic, financial support is needed now more than ever.” she added.

SDPs are a part of the sickness and disability benefit Employment and Support Allowance, which UC is slowly replacing- around 500,000 people claimed SDPs and 1.4million claimed Enhanced Disability Premiums as of 2018.

 


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Tony Winterburn

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