500,000 Disabled People Warned About Benefits Change

Disability charities have been promoted to warn half a million disabled people in the UK that they may be made finically worse due to major changes to benefits rules by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that came into effect on 27 January.

According to the Mirror, the changes come as ministers lift a two-year ban on people who claim Severe Disability Premiums (SDP) moving to Universal Credit (UC), which means people who are on the old-style benefits can choose now to move across to the new Universal Credit system if they want to.

But it will also see some people moved to the new system if they have a change of circumstances, such as moving home or relationship.

While ministers insist that the majority of claimants will benefit, charities and campaigners are concerned that many will be left much worse off in the change.

SDP claimants who move to UC get monthly transition payments of £120, £285, or £405, however, these will be reduced over time, if a claimant is awarded a new or larger element of any part of their UC, apart from childcare.

The new rules suggest that it will become increasingly difficult to estimate what payments will be received in the future.

Louise Rubin, from the charity Scope, said the ‘poorly-timed change’ mid-lockdown would cause anxiety and uncertainty for some of Britain’s most vulnerable people.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

SDPs form part of the sickness and disability benefit Employment and Support Allowance, which is being slowly replaced by UC. Approximately 500,000 people claimed SDPs and 1.4 million claimed Enhanced Disability Premiums as of 2018, but these payments are not in the same form as Universal Credits.

In January 2019 ministers blocked SDP claimants from moving to Universal Credit after two men who were switched over and lost out launched a High Court challenge. This block was called the ‘SDP gateway’.

The government has since introduced transition payments, however, campaigners say that this does not go far enough. Citizens Advice, Disability Rights UK and welfare advice charity Z2K all warned people should seek advice first.

Once people voluntarily make the switch and claim UC, they then lose the right to claim or revert to old-style benefits.

Officials for the DWP have claimed that no one will be forced onto UC but said it was ‘only right’ that claimants are required to move in a change of circumstances.

“When fully rolled out, Universal Credit will be £2 billion per year more generous than the support it replaces. Eligible people previously receiving the Severe Disability Premium can get transitional payments worth up to £405 a month.”

If you’re looking for a disabled walk-in shower to grant a better quality of life for vulnerable and disabled people in your life, then visit our website today.

If you are interested in finding out more information call us on 01491 411041 or visit our website.

Absolute Mobility

Need some help choosing your new easy access bathroom?
Call 0800 2922 110 and speak to a friendly adviser

Request A Brochure

Complete your address details and we’ll post a brochure to you

Try Before You Buy

Visit our Henley showroom or let us bring our products to you

Free Home Assessment

Request a home assessment and product suitability survey

General Enquiry

For any other enquiry, please use our contact form